Monday, 17 August 2009

Donnie Williams and Park Place - The Power - 2009 - Chump Change

Donnie Williams and Park Place have given us a number of quality releases this side of Y2K, and here we go with yet another winner in the shape of "The Power"; a collection of songs that showcase many a real talent both musically and vocally. Take for example track one, "Higher Power", which has echoes of Michael J Powell and Chapter 8 circa their Beverly Glen period. Donnie Williams is joined by the lovely Latoya London - of US Pop Idol fame - and saxophonist Nelson Braxton. This is quality material indeed and I cannot, for one, recommend it enough. "Music Land" also packs a punch, featuring Denise Stewart and the brilliant /Derick Hughes on vocals. Both singers are brilliant in their own right and I only wish we had more solo material from them. This CD, and this track especially, is very positive and affirms what is good about us as people and as a race. This is what we need right now. So much negativity in the world...Donnie and the guys are reminding us that things do not have to be this way. Yet another way that Soul Music does a great service here in the hustle and bustle of the modern world.

Paul Tilman Smith and Terrel Williams appear on the spoken word of "The Steps", which is their recipe to a better and more fulfilling life. Not too sure about this myself BUT the music that supports this is absolutely superb! My favourite track on here, though, has to be "Darkness To The Light". Vocally Donnie Williams sounds so much like Bryan Powell, and the flavour is almost like Billy and Sarah Gaines at their very best! If you loved the soulful Gospel issued by the likes of the Word and Benson labels in the early 90s then this is for you! Fans of Marion Meadows-styled Jazz will soon warm to the title track, and 60s soul star (and father of Derick) Freddie Hughes takes the Old School version of "Higher Power" to another level. Add the legendary Pharaoh Sanders on sax and you can guess that the mix is absolutely blinding. OK, it's a short CD but oh so sweet. The quality and consistency gets better and better all the time. So, I look forward to the next effort with renewed glee!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe