Monday, 15 June 2009

Vick Allen - Truth Be Told... - 2009 - Soul 1st

Vick Allen's first outing for Soul 1st Records is sure to please, and if you loved the excellent Omar Cunningham album from last year then this CD is exactly what you'll be looking for. Again, Vick follows suit in that his traditional southern-fried gritty, real and homegrown soul crashes headlong into modern RnB - the result being superb. Vick Allen is, as you may already know, a prolific writer having penned songs for soul legends Willie Clayton and Omar Cunningham, as well as bluesier artists such as Mel Waiters and Denise LaSalle. On this release I feel that he surpasses himself. Vocally we have some real grit - I hear the testimony of Al Green, the smoothness of Ronald Isley and the edginess of Willie Clayton. This glorious blend of soulful vocals, mixed with catchy hooks, upbeat flavours and down-home lyrics is a sure-fire winner for me. The opening song, "I'm Hooked" is a really strong opening cut - the object of his affections has 'six kids, she don't know who the father is!". Excellent! LOL.

More rootsy material can be found within "If They Can Beat Me Rockin'" which is a superb midtempo groove of the highest caliber, with a warm bassline and fluid organ and synth touches. For fans of downtempo material with a hint of Ron Isley please check out "I'm Thankful". A good comparison for the music here would be to remind you of the excellent ballads from Rome's first CD on RCA back in 1997. Take a listen, and I'll think you'll agree that this is class. THE track of this CD for me is the breezy uptempo number, "I Need Some Attention". This has real radio hit appeal - a strong, sturdy beat and firing-on-all-cylinders southern soulful vocals, complete with soaring sax. SUPERB. This is what a great soul track in 2009 sounds like! I also love the real southern styled "Forbidden Love Affair" which discusses a very naughty Preacher and a young Lady! Classy stuff indeed. The Tyrone Davis uptempo groove of "As Long As I Got My Baby" makes for very good listening too, and the precautionary tale of "Trying To Break Up My Home" is also a VERY satisfying track. For me, "Truth Be Told..." is a solid album for lovers of southern and traditional soul music, and the set also nods it's head to today's flavours. Please do not overlook.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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