This is a collection of songs recorded between 1980 and 1982, bar two cuts from 1971 and this for me was a magical time for soul music. This material is all new to me, and I have to say it's always a nice surprise to stumble across material such as this. Must have been hidden away somewhere in New York for all these years! The flavour is very live, Go-Go in places and early rap styles pop up now and again with artists such as Fabulous 3 MCs and Missy Missy Dee. OK, this does sound dated BUT the music is real - think The Younger Generation's "We Rap More Mellow" - and the rap is more in tune with traditional rap and not the limp, yet unpleasant style of Y2K. Alongside these kinds of cuts we have the caliber of Jackie Stoudemire with her woefully short stomper, "Invisible Wind" featuring an irresistible groove, claps and darting strings. This Lady reminds me a whimsy of UK enchantress Jaki Graham and THAT is a Lady I wish we heard more from! Arnie Love attempts this track, and although very good, does not beat the aforementioned version from Jackie Stoudemire. Arnie Love makes more than a few appearances here - four in fact - and his second inclusion is the wonderful uptempo "We've Had Enough" - check out the lyrics and think of all those lovely expenses being bantered around by our wonderful MPs. Yes, I think this could be a new UK anthem!!!
Jackie Stoudemire really knocks the stuffing out of me with the KILLER "Guilty". One of THOSE early 80s grooves that really gets the juices flowing. This music could easily be spinning around on the Capitol label, it is that classy and worth the price of the CD for this song alone!!! Think Dramatics or Donna washington...Tavares...that sort of awesome flavour! Her SUPERB "Run Away Hide From Love" is equally as impressive and reminds me of the sort of chunky groove we would expect to hear on, say, a Ronn Matlock album, or Clifford Coulter. Excellent. Arnie Love and his Lovettes give us another stomper in the form of "Stop And Make Up Your Mind" and is more disco-orientated than their other inclusions - a bit more dated too - but definitely better than most of what passes as R&B today! The final two cuts from Bonnie Freeman are real gems. A strong vocalist and almost in the Patrice Holloway bag. This sort of material sounds as good today as it did in 1971, and artists like Raphael Saadiq and Anthoney Wright certainly are aware of this. The first is a ballad of excellent proportions, the second a superb Whitfield / Strong / Bristol kind of song. This is a well worthwhile CD and one for lovers of 80s AND 70s soul!
The Vibe Scribe