Monday, 2 November 2009

N'Dambi - Pink Elephant - 2009 - Stax

Stax continues to rebuild itself with a series of choice reissues from it's immeasurably wealthy back catalog and also, under the mighty wing of the Concord music group, concentrates on releasing quality new releases - the latest being the seductive N'Dambi with her latest - and for me strongest - effort "Pink Elephant". What thrilled me more than anything was to see the legendary Leon F. Sylvers III on production. Don't expect the old Solar sound though, that has it's place but Mr. Sylvers has his mind on 2009 - a funky 2009 to boot - and knows all the strengths and highlights of N'Dambi's immense talent. N'Dambi, a Lady of no-nonsense sass and swagger takes to this album like the pro she is. "Lie", the opener is a real radio smash, or at least should be, and tells a tale of a degenerate and rotten core to the American Dream. A cautionary, perhaps cynical tale, the message is not lost on the funky, summer-infused Tony Toni Toné type groove.

The funky guitar licks opening "What It Takes" should grab you immediately - I can really hear the likes of Sandra St. Victor working well on this kind of groove. My cream cut is the delicious if woefully short "Nobody Jones" which deals with a young Lady in the neighbourhood who wants to be a superstar. This is a song about self-belief and possibilities; this kind of song should inspire many who have the self-belief to make it in their field...N'Dambi has certainly risen from a small acorn to become the mighty oak she is now. An autobiographical song, methinks? The slinky, organ flourished "Ooh Baby" is seductive with a sexy, rolling rhythm. The vocal harmonies are very, very strong too, making this a strong link to the chunky and funky "Mind Blowin'" which nods it's head to real good back-in-the-day tunes. I totally concur, Old Girl! I move onto the summery, guitar-licked "Take It Out" which would easily fit on Steve Harvey's "De'Valicious" compilation from 2004. Very strong, as is "Can't Hardly Wait". This is another strong melodic, directed track but for this old-fashioned world weary gent the swearing that is prevalent detracts from the overall song.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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