Thursday, 19 February 2009

Walt Coleman - Songs In Transition

Walt may well be stretched out is resplendence on the front cover looking very much like Isaac Hayes, but where the vocals are concerned the multi-talented vocalist and musician Walt Coleman owes more to the vocal style of Al Johnson than anything else. This is a set that should please those who like a more home-grown warm and inviting independent sound. Remember the late 80s and early 90s? There were a number of massive tunes that were championed by the likes of John Anderson at Soul Bowl, and Dean from Voices From The Shadows and boy is there one of these on here, and as such makes the album a must-have. For me there are 5 songs of note and these start with track 2, “Hard Out There”, which is a tough, bass-driven little tune that has funky overtones. Enough to rumble the old bass-pins, is this track and is one you can really get intricate with. From here my attention was next drawn to the SUPERB “Mr. Got It Goin On” which is very 80s in style and describes well the sort of gentleman most women aim for but seldom find happiness with. There is a very small yet well-placed rap featuring Phostachild.“Love Song (All I Need)” is very much in the Al Johnson vocal court, and sounds very much like a quality independent from the mid 80s, thanks mainly to the melody and reliance on the synth. The melody and vocals are really lovely and make this a definite standout track. For me the KILLER is the sweet and wonderful “True Love”. This is superb, and sounds like it could have come out on a small indie label out of Miami. The joyful guitar, resonant keyboards and tapping, loose carefree beats really hark back to 1986 / 1987 and cuts like “Time” by Delaney, “Love The Way You Make Me Feel” or “Lighthouse” by Artwork or even “Come See Me” by Sergeant Tucker. I thoroughly recommend this song and if you love THAT sound then this is one for you! Love it, love it, love it! My final pick, "In Luv Witchu" really is a bassy number, perhaps the bass has been over-egged a little but the taste is very much in the Jesse Johnson / Prince bag and the way the vocals are crafted and structured around the guitar and bass this should appeal to those who enjoyed the Minneapolis sound of the mid 80s. Impressed with the enthusiasm on this CD. OK, it does not have the major label sound that we have grown used to BUT there lies it's charm. Rustic soul and thank God for it too!

Barry Towler