Sunday, 27 December 2009

Luther Vandross - Never Too Much: The Soul Of Luther Vandross - 2009 - Camden

Luther Vandross, like Barry White and James Brown is an artist whom I mourned on their passing. Unique, majestic, powerful yet sensitive, delicate and soulful, Vandross really did have it all. Luther had worked his way to the very pinnacle of musical stardom and in so doing worked with and gained the hearty respect of all those he sang backings for, produced or accompanied. A real, genuine, all-rounder this man piled through the disco era right through to the Hip Hop era and managed to blend in perfectly, managing to 'Luther-ise' everything he touched. His ability to secure a solid fan base in the RnB market never diminished when he reached pop superstardom. For me, it is when he achieved stellar status in the late 80s / early 90s that my interest started to wane BUT like the star he was he always tapped my musical shoulder with one gem or another, renewing my faith in the true soul star under the newly acquired pop star status. Soul Man, Steve Ripley and Camden Records have collaborated to craft this different and interesting compilation, and with David Nathan on liner notes this double album comes recommended. It's a smattering of the great, the good and the hits that made up the package, the Man.

Most albums are covered here - at least his Epic output at least. Many of my favourites are on here, as I suspect many of yours too. "The Night I Fell In Love" is my first choice...this 1985 track is simply sublime, as is "Creepin'" and "My Sensitivity" from the same set. These tracks succinctly sum up the man...soulful, superior and so...Luther. I can't hear "Give Me The Reason" without getting chills. This is still an amazing track is it not?! Talking of amazing, CD 2 contains the KILLER "Never Too Much" - a song that always lifts me out of the doldrums, and another track that floored me from first hearing in 1988 was the beautiful "Any Love". "So Amazing" is another clear choice but the track I really would have included here is "There's Nothing Better Than Love", the 1986 duet with the also late, great Gregory Hines. This CD contains two tracks that were only previously available on compilations, notably the MOR-ish "It's All About You" and the more soulful and relevant "She's So Good For Me"
- both are worthwhile efforts, and it's welcome to have them included here on this CD, especially the latter song. For the whiskerless youth, the RnB whippersnappers out there or the passing Radio 2 housewife this compilation will suffice, but readers here, the ardent supporters will already have all the CDs I am sure - but I thank all concerned for keeping this stellar talent in the public eye and heart with this timely album.

Barry Towler

The Vibe Scribe

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