Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Whispers - For Your Ears Only - 2006 - Satin Tie Productions

The Whispers first release in over 8 years and one of their STRONGEST album ever! They guys look great and they sound as fresh and vibrant as ever. This time their release is on their terms on their own label, and support has come from a whole plethora of quality artists all helping make this one special album indeed. The sound is definitely major label quality: If you adore these gents then you will not be disappointed with this CD. The opening song launches into a fantastic slice of late 70s sounding jazz-fusion a la Gino Vanelli, filtering into a real quality stepper paying homage to those "old skool" artists such as Marvin Gaye, Rick James and Ray Charles. This is handled in the same way that my good friend, Will Wheaton did on his fabulous "old School Soul" track. This is feel-good soul at its best. From this gem we find another jaw-dropper in the form of "Don’t Say No".which really has a root in their classic Solar ballads, edged with their earlier 70s Janus vibe, but what really takes this into orbit is the FANTASTIC jazzy skit that erupts unexpectedly as it does with Captain Sky’s gorgeous version of "Natural High". This song rates as one of the best records the Whispers have EVER recorded.

Teena Marie supplies "Butta", and the cool, slinky groove is very today but Walter and Scotty's harmonies really are straight out of their Solar days. Their take on Major Harris’ 1975 Classic "Love Won’t Let Me Wait", with the help of Robert Brookins have really taken the song, shaken it to its roots and rebuilt it from scratch into a new beast which has The Whispers stamped all over it. "Love Strokin’" really is a super-sexy effort – again another contender for one of their best ever songs. Nicholas Caldwell's writing and production fires on all cylinders with this! The Philly vibe pops up again courtesy of the Ron Wilson and Ronnie Bell tune, "Hold On", and the brothers croon to their hearts content, backed by the unique vocal harmony that we have always known and loved. This continues into "Livin’ It Up" which has that haunting synth supporting the sitar and guitar. The haunting Nicholas Caldwell penned and produced "Love" is superb. Ali-Ollie Woodson's penned "Can I Get Next To You" is equally superb. "Its You" with its sexy sax, keys and late 80s sense of propriety delivers big time, and its gentleness is not only refreshing but indeed welcome in an age when everybody tends to be too reliant on heavy basslines. It's not until track 12 that we hit the title cut – again this is an essential track with a neat rhythm guitar, keys and sashaying groove. I could never have dreamt of such a fantastic comeback.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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