Saturday, 26 December 2009

Cecil Parker - Essensual - 2000 - Orchard

Cecil Parker is a dependable name, and great to see that he still has a lot of material available to buy both digitally and on CD. One of his strongest Y2K issues was this gem, "Essensual", released in 2000. Soulchoonz thought it a great idea to alert you to this recent gem and to the fact that the man is still very much active and creating some mighty fine music! A solid modern set, Cecil Parker lays down some soulful, jazzy and addictive grooves here and does well with ballads, midtempos and dancers. I was struck immediately by track one, "Come Over Here" which has a strong, sturdy and deliciously deep bassline. A fine Ray Parker Jr style guitar line drops in regularly and the competent and soulful vocal more than complements this groove. OK, we're almost a decade on from this release but this could easily have been laid down in a studio today. Even the obligatory rap on here does not deter me from the flow of the song! Could do without it, though. It's all to passe for my sensibilities. The sensuous "Want Me Here" is the first ballad of weight and is crafted very much in a mid-late 1980s style. This is very becoming and nothing about this song is bad at all. Again, the rhythm guitar is strong and sound.

"Never Say Never" is my next choice. A song that I was initially wary about with a slightly twee start, it soon build up into a strong cut with a lovely chorus line with sparkling vocal harmony and understated yet spot-on synth and percussion. Again, a great 1980s feel. "Let Me Turn You On" with it's programmed beat and Y2K feel is pinioned nicely by a sensuous vocal approach and a chorus which has a melody that reminds of of Patrice Rushen's 1994 number, "I Do". Fans of Babyface will take to "Who's Gonna Love Me" - this relaxing and unassuming ballad has that Babyface style routine in it's composition and I can even feel the likes of MOR-ish Brian McKnight working well on this groove. Don't skip this, whatever you do. It's better than you could think! More immediate I feel would be the modern beat ballad "I Want It Again" - a 90s sounding cut that would easily grace one of those boy groups albums - someone like Four Sure, IV Xample or that ilk. There was some great ballads crafted by these kids in the 90s and although formulaic and bandwagon, there was still merit there. This song would easily fit in with this era's material. You will be able to pick this up on Amazon as well as his other material. All well worth investigating. Go on, what are you waiting for?!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

Buy or download from Amazon