Saturday, 27 March 2010

Tawatha - Welcome To My Dream - 1987 / 2010 - Funky Town Grooves

1987 was the last year the we heard any serious material from the brilliant, brilliant James Mtume. Whatever happened to his 1991 Philadelphia International CD I have no idea...where is he and the awesome Tawatha now? Well, until we have news of new music we have, courtesy of Sony Music US and Funky Town Grooves, the reissue on CD of 1987's magnificent "Welcome To My Dream". A very popular album at the time, "Welcome To My Dream" boasted some seriously funky and sexy moments. None came more sexier than the KILLER opening song "Thigh Ride". Typical of James' post-Lucas work, the heavy beats and funky synths do more than adequate justice to THAT voice which remains to this very day one of my favourite female soul voices off all-time. A vastly underrated talent, Tawatha Agee can turn out a funky belter as easily as a dreamy bedroom ballad, and proof positive comes in the shape of "Did I Dream You" of my favourite tunes of 1987. Typical of Mtume's gentler - yet trademarked - productions in the 80s, this remains a track that I will always dig out on a warm spring day such as this (trust me, it is! Honest!)

The quality continues on the knocking "Love Shine". Mtume is a master of the clunking, yet feel-good groove and this wonderful moment is another prime example of this. For me, as I may have said before, the late 80s was the pinnacle of sophisticated soul music. Along came swingbeat and hip hip and the cloning machine and it all went to pot. Songs such as these represent the cream of this era. The criminally brief title track certainly is a sound that you NEVER hear coming out of the Sony music stable again. Such a pity. The uptempo tracks also remain winners. Tracks such as "More Than Before" hang tight, still, with other contemporary jams such as Randy Hall's "Slow Starter", St. Paul's "Intimacy" and Gladys Knight and The Pips massive "Love Overboard". I really hope that Funkytown Grooves reissue the Mtume albums and include the killer remixes of songs such as "Tie Me Up" and "Body And Soul (Take Me)". I, for one, would be very grateful and happy!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

Buy on Amazon