Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Will Downing - Classique - 2009 - Peak

Yet again I have the pleasure to review another Will Downing album. And, yet again, I cannot fault the man nor his music. "Classique" is set for release on June 16th in the US on his latest label, Peak, and Will has not betrayed his huge fanbase, nor has he pandered to the kids' R&B brigade as many classic artists are wont to do these days. The instrumentation is real, Will is much improved in health and has beaten his illness; his voice powerful, rich, sensuous and better than ever. "Classique" rates as one of his strongest albums, and as we can expect a few cover versions are thrown in for good measure BUT given the Will Downing mark of quality and as always, he does not always choose the most immediate tracks, highlighting his wide knowledge of quality music. He covers, with much aplomb Gary Taylor's "I Won't Stop", duets with the awesome Phil Perry on a delicious version of The Originals' "Baby I'm For Real" and he lovingly tackles David Ruffin's classic, "Statue Of A Fool" as well as Barry White's "I'm Gonna Love You A Little Bit More". These are all classy, but it's the new songs that really inspire me.

The opening song is superb. "Ride" is the title, and it gets the CD into 5th gear immediately. The lavish production is almost Norman Connors in style and Ronnie Foster is superb on the keys. The synth and backing vocals are pure heaven and makes for yet another perfect Will Downing moment. "More Time (Tic Toc)" is a perfect summertime tune with some 80s keys, a flourish of organ and plenty more real instruments. This really is lovely stuff. I tell you this: you will be hard pressed to better "Something Special". This is BRILLIANT! A late 70s feel with plenty of soul, horns and flute giving it a classic feel. So soulful and summery it hurts!!!!!! You're gonna love this track! One of Will's best for some time. "Love Suggestions" is sublime and brings us back into a Y2K quality groove. Smooth and far better than anything you will hear churned out in the so-called RnB scene today. Fans of the man will simply adore "Let's Make It Now", a track that like all others will forever remain timeless. Will Downing and all his players have crafted and delivered a superior quality CD and is, for me, one of the best albums of 2009. Superb and essential.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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