Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Various Artists - Beach Music Super Collaboration - 2004 - Bluewater Recordings

Those sizzling Embers cannot fail to do right for me. I still reel over their amazing "The Show Must Go On" set. This - dare I call them veteran - group really has it in them to please me, big time, over and over again. This is a set that was released back in 2004 and still very much essential and available through dear old CD Baby. If you loved the recent Embers set then you are simply going to adore this. The orchestration is, again, spot on. the instrumentation, vocals and arrangements are absolutely terrific. I don't care what anyone tells you, soul music just isn't the same without a sweet sax and a few strings thrown in for good measure. The CD is a sure-fire winner and I expect many of you will already know and love the late, great O.C. Smith and his 1993 song, "Brenda", which was lifted from the well-acclaimed "Love X Three" compilation for Triune Records. This song features on here, and it still sounds classy!

George Benson is now with the Wallert team and his inclusion here is the summery "New York City", a tribute to the Embers' home town. This is more like the George Benson we know and love, far removed from the urban, street effort on his last GRP album. What was all that about?! Anyway, you will find that you won't be shying away from this track. I understand that the man had a new Cd out soon - so this I must hear! Cuba Gooding is another soul music legend, and his wonderfully lush "Meant To Be In Love" is here in all it's glory - lifted from the album of the same name. Superb string break and soaring vocals. Simply sublime. Ronnie Limar is a distinctive singer, and with the lush, rich, instrumentation supporting him the final product is total quality. The Embers themselves make up the majority of this album. The brassy opening track lays solid foundations, uptempo yet smooth, and the more-ish "Ain't No Use" adds real clout with a substantial modern groove. Superb. So, too, is "Back In My Bed" - very mid 80s in a warm, cosy way. Just what the doctor ordered!!! I only wish that we had more material around as classy as this. Well worth a purchase

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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