Friday, 24 April 2009

James Day - Natural Things - 2009 - Expansion

James Day cuts a dashing figure on the booklet here - very much with his piercing eyes and Pirates of the Caribbean look and the CD is as dramatic and exciting as those movies ever were. James Day does not tinker about the edges with his work. Oh, no. Following on from his debut CD is something that will easily fall into your comfort zone; a piece of what I call new nostalgia...the best of old and new combining to create something very fitting for today but also very snug, warm and reassuringly familiar. That does not mean, I hasten to add that James and co have played it safe. Let us get some name checks here. Mikelyn Roderick, Jeff Ramsey, U-Nam, Ian Martin, Audrey Wheeler, Tim Owens, Karen Bernod and Gavin Christopher among others. Now that is one hell of a guest list and the quality and measure of a man is not but from the quality of his enemies, but very much in the company he keeps. This is a discerning gentleman, serious and confident, culturally aware and musically savvy.

Musically, you will love it. You will be hooked with the catchy and saxy "Speak Love", a perfect song to open up the album and a great vehicle also for the wonderful Mikelyn Roderick. Is there nothing this Lady can do wrong? The next cut,"Happy On Hold", is a very lovely song discussing the ups and down of life and it truly is inspirational. I certainly need to take heed to the words of this song and Jeff Ramsey's vocals and U-Nams brilliant finger work on his guitar help ram home the message. Hopefully it will sink in with me. For a chunky, uptempo groove check out the bouncy jogger "Sponsored By Love" featuring our old friend, Ian Martin and the sexy vocalist Deanna! Sax man Walter Beasley meets head on with the great Audrey Wheeler with a gentle ballad, "Natural Thing", a track that grows on each play. Now, Tim Owens is a singer I really have time for - his 1991 Cd was a must-have and this 80s midtempo effort utilises his talents brilliantly, and dear old Lynn Roderick also shines. This is also true for their collaboration on the deep "Any Kind Of Love". Gavin Christopher - an enormous talent - throws his weight behind "Outta The Funk" and a smouldering version of "Stormy" awaits with Mikelyn Roderick again. This is a great chalk and cheese pairing and it works. Talent is in the house! No doubts about this one - a must have CD!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

Natural Things