Monday, 19 October 2009

Melba Moore and Phil Perry - The Gift Of Love - 2009 - Shanachie

Before I say anything at all about this CD, doesn't Melba Moore look simply delicious?! What a gorgeous Lady and hearing her back strong as ever in 2009 is something truly magnificent to behold. A strong vocalist, Shanachie's pairing of Melba Moore with Phil Perry has been a real masterstroke. The label is, basically, no surprises to find yet another dearth of well-trodden cover versions - which would usually issue forth a yawn from this scribe's cavernous cake hole, BUT this mighty pairing do add some real magic to these tunes, many of which have been seriously rejigged and reworked. Of note are some tasty NEW, ORIGINAL tunes written by an old friend of ours, Dwayne Palmer of Stars On Broadway fame. It's these that I'll zero in on later. First up, though, is a very tasty interpretation of The Sounds Of Blackness' "Optimistic". The original version of this song is untouchable BUT the emphasis here is totally different...very Y2K, very quality driven and funky as you like. A real winner, and quite different from the original version.

Tammi and Marvin's "You're All I Need To Get By" is totally given respect and is again, a different beast, heavy on a rumbling bassline and acoustic guitar. These guys sound amazing on here - oh for a duets album of NEW material...what a tasty idea! The Spinners' "Sadie" is also great and different enough to make the set more interesting than much of the label's output. Onto the new material...You will really love "We'll Be Together Then", the classic late 80s Quiet Storm Production sound raises it's head and complete with the sound of water dripping, and spine-tingling musical and vocal arrangements renders this CD absolutely essential. This song is truly Melba's shining moment. Melba really belts out her vocals as only she can, and Phil Perry - more subdued - gently adds his vocal support...the result is sheer spine tingling. The harmonies are haunting and one can only imagine a CD of completely new songs of this caliber. What a joy this would be to behold. Fans of keyboardist Chris "Big Dog" Davis will undoubtedly appreciate the jazzy "The Gift Of Love" - a perfect vehicle for Phil Perry's amazing voice. A gentle track that is not dissimilar from the less raucous output by the Sounds Of Blackness, this is sure to please. Great harmonies, too. Highly recommended quality real soul for 2009.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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