Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Zascant - For Women Only - 2005 - Zascant Music

This is a very worthwhile 2005 release, still available on CD Baby. Zascant are a duo comprised of Alonzo "Scooter" Powell Jr who has spent years drumming with James Ingram and Norman Brown amongst others, and Anthony Johnson III who supplies the smooth, soulful vocals. The group grew up and was inspired by the Isley Brothers, Heat Wave, the Stylistics, Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Sly Stone, James Brown, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Peabo Bryson, Earth Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder so you get the idea of where these guys are coming from! This is an 8 track CD and for these ears four tracks really and seriously demand your attention. I recommend the first 4 songs so without further ado...track one! The opening tapper has an 80s feel and reminds me slightly of some of the material on the latest Lenny Williams CD. Anthony's vocals really are great and this song will warm the old cockles of your heart as it does mine, I'm sure. When I originally checked this CD out on CD Baby I was absolutely convinced about these two gentlemen when I had got about 20 seconds into the KILLER gospel ballad, "Place Of Peace", which is so strong and so essential that it is beyond belief. This is a straight out classic song in the mould of, say, the Winans and I still play it regularly today. Having been blown away with this I was not ready for yet another KILLER in the form of "Please Stay" which is a brilliantly addictive midtempo effort that would not sound too far out of place amongst 80s classics such as The Chi-Lites "Runnin' Around". This is real soul music, fellow connoisseurs so have no fear. The final cut for me is the aptly titled "Sunshine" which has a loose beat, expansive synth and summery keyboards. The only distraction for me is the crackly record effect. I never liked crackles when I bought vinyl years ago, and I am not a fan of hearing it on CDs today - BUT this is still a massive track and highly enjoyable to boot. Tracks 5 to 8 really did not hit me in the same "wow" area but cannot at all be considered bad at all. "Sexy Sexy" is an outright 80s stepper, and isn't bad at all but I feel the final tracks lack the power and conviction of the first 4 songs. Again, with the sheer essential nature of tracks 1 to 4 this is not a problem, simply an aside. Well worth a purchase if you are a connoisseur of Y2K soul flavours!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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