Thursday, 18 March 2010

Raheem Devaughn - The Love And War Masterpiece - 2010

This is not an artist I would usually give a moment's notice to, but certain tracks on this album has made this artist much more than one of the legion of kids' R'n'B singers and has elevated him, in my opinion, to something much higher. If you feel the same way as I, then you will look at the tracklisting and see the guest list of rappers such as Ludacris and Wale and quickly flip onto the next more adult release. Trust me...BIG mistake! The great Dr. Cornell West opens up the CD, immediately giving gravitas to the following KILLER track "Bulletproof". Fans of Marvin Gaye's most righteous work will fall in love with this immediately. You can even hear throwbacks to Curtis Mayfield here too - the early 70s feel with horns and organ is embellished by a harder, urban bassline and rapper Ludicris cannot even spoil this groove, however, saying that I wish these artists - so-called - would just go away and never be heard of again. I skip to the superb 90s-ish "Black And Blue" which has all the hallmarks of a great Boyz II Men track - think "Water Runs Dry" and you're not far wrong.

The higher vocal register of "Bedroom" is also of note, and although this isn't as high as the standards of more grown-up artists, it's still better than much of the diatribe spewing out from the US at the moment. The song that will really make you sit up is the sensitive ballad "Garden Of Love". With the ghost of a Philly flavour this is more of an echo than a serious attempt at the Philly sound but is, nonetheless, a great song and better than anything this youngster has dished up to date. I also highly recommend the final track, "I Don't Care" with a strong 70s horn feel. Raheem Devaughn proves on all these songs that he is so much more able to make REAL music than his umpteen contemporaries. I hope that he starts breaking out of the crass urban straightjacket placed on him by the major labels / marketing men / urban radio and carries on delivering great slices of soul music as he does with these choices. Do not overlook this set.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

Buy on Amazon