Saturday, 17 October 2009

Steve Wallace - Urban Soul - 2009 - Steve Wallace Music

An essential album. Steve Wallace drops a very classy and essential set of songs which takes today's urban soul music and places it into a collage of our daily life and times...or as he would put it "just another day in the heart of the city". It's very much like a musical testament for out times, and within the fabric of this CD there is much wisdom to be discovered. This is NOT the type of urban set that the be-hooded collectors of Asbos would rush out and buy, oh no. Those, however, who have some real awareness of the grittier side of life, but have more than an ounce of intelligence . Music aside, what really made me smile was how conscious Steve Wallace is on this album...there is a small section which is set on a subway train, and all you can hear are announcements regarding bombs, suspicious packages and so on and so forth. The comments made on this subject by Steve and his cohort are priceless and makes this old Truther smile from ear to ear. The music, though, speaks for itself. Vocally Steve has a smooth approach a la Donny Hathaway and the more I hear his style the more I LOVE it. "Urban Soul" is a first-rate track and expertly marries together today's contemporary sound with traditional RnB with more soul and gutsy expression than many of his peers. Yet again, no need for profanity when discussing today's issues. Rappers take note.

Fans of Lakeside's "Fantastic Voyage" will instantly hear this sample - the catchy horn refrain - used on a loop, but don't be put off. This is a cracking track with real BOOM and soulful vocals. If an old whinger like me and move to this I'm sure anyone can!!! A great fusion of Hip Hop beats and 80s keyboards greets us with the soulful head-nodder "So Cold" and the glorious Tony Toni Toné flavoured "Still A Man" adds more weight to this Cd as a serious purchase. "The Truth" with it's organ, laid back and jazzy, sing-song vocal arrangement is also a song of real note, and I think that this track would do well on radio here in the UK. I highly recommend "The Love...?" with it's deep bass and dreamy it's as soulful as you like and then some! "In The City" definitely makes it's mark and the ambient synth in the background reminds me of Outkast's "She Lives In My Lap" slightly (yes, I DO own that CD!!!!!! LOL) "Packages" really blows the set apart...a great vocal piece in tandem with a piano...a track that Joe McBride would be proud of! The lyrics are also very strong and very mature indeed. You will NOT be getting this clarity, depth and quality from 99.9% of your major label RnB sets today. "Metro Gotham Town" is simply SUPERB...worthy of anyone's attention, I cannot recommend this slice or quality soul enough. Steve Wallace has something to say and on this album he sure says it well. "Urban Soul" is exactly what it says on the tin. It's a social commentary and a discourse in moulding traditional soul values with an urban edge. I seriously recommend it and for those who would dismiss this as a here today gone tomorrow set then please take note of "Hip Hop" featuring Maya Azucena...this man says exactly what we're saying in a brilliantly melodic way. Brilliant, Steve. Highly recommended. Accompanying this is also a DVD which takes the experience further. Well worth watching!!!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe