Sunday, 22 November 2009

Various Artists - Stars On Broadway - 2001 - Lovebeams

This is NOT a Broadway album! Trust me! Fans of John Barrowman will be heartily disappointed! Released in 2001 and very much available from CD Baby, this CD is very welcome indeed. This album is special in that it is a charity disc for the Broadway Cares / Equity Fights Aids foundation, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the CD goes straight to that charity in order to ensure direct support to people in the entertainment industry affected by HIV / AIDS; to provide assistance to organisations nationwide in the US that serve others affected by the disease and also to promote awareness as well as generate funds. This is such an evil and unnecessary disease and such a worthwhile cause that the fact that the CD is excellent almost gets relegated into simply being a bonus. This CD created a buzz in the US on radio and had created a lot of interest in the artists appearing on the CD. This is a fine collaborative effort which is the brainchild of Dwayne C. Palmer who is a very talented lyricist who has plenty of creativity in his hands as a hair stylist as well as in his pen. Take a listen to his new work on the Melba Moore and Phil Perry CD where he has written the best and most fine cut of all, "We'll Be Together Then". With its heart firmly on its sleeve and its sensibilities firmly rooted in quality soul this is a must-have album. A Lady called Capathia Jenkins features a lot on this album and she is a very, very classy vocalist indeed. Of the 12 tracks on offer, 5 are from this Lady. Her fine skills adorn the Beverly Glen inspired “In You” which has that classic lyrical pitch and phrase which we associate with Anita Baker or even Rosie Gaines. Worth it for this track alone, but Christiane Noll comes up trumps with the intriguing “I’m In Love”. The song’s opening lyrical phrasing and melody are extremely similar to Lalah Hathaway’s “I’m Coming Back” but that is fine by me; one cannot help but hark back to the Gary Taylor penned song from 1990.

We have a gentleman called Darryl D’Bonneau who is a BREATHTAKING singer who has echoes of the legendary Chuck Cissell, and there are even echoes of Brotherly Love / The Chestnut Brothers on “I Won’t Leave You Alone”. This classy midtempo monster is just excellent and really ought to be getting some serious rotation here in the UK and Europe on quality radio shows. “Never Alone” from the gorgeous Shoshana Bean will gratify those who loved the first (and best) Chanté Moore CD from 1992. Think “Precious” and you will get the gist of how this lovely Lady approaches her song. Blue-eyed soul comes in the guise of Jason Paige with his raw and satisfying “For Life” which features some really nice guitar. The wonderful Capathia Jenkins returns on the exquisite “Take Me Away” which oozes quality - again showcasing her velvety smooth vocals. To say I have had worn this song out is an understatement. If, however, you are looking for a GREAT male vocalist I cannot recommend Robert H. Fowler enough - I hear D Macon and elements of the legendary Al Johnson in this man’s ample, capable voice. Finally, a great groover can be found in the catchy “Good Lover” by our good friend Capathia Jenkins. This is the sort of thing one would expect Expansion to pick up on for one of their excellent compilations. Who knows - but what I do know is that you will love this CD and what can be better than a good CD for a very worthwhile cause? Available from CD Baby. Please do not overlook.

Barry Towler