Monday, 22 March 2010

Various Artists - Soul Over The Race Vol. 1 - 2010

Having foamed at the mouth and scratched the wallpaper behind my sofa over the endless spewing forth of sets of cover versions it was with great pleasure that I received this set and LIKED it!!! Out of Tokyo comes an homage to '70s and '80s soul music with Japanese singers paying real and serious respect to great American soul songs. They do this with such finesse and create some great moments to boot! I have always appreciated the Japanese love of soul and jazz and the fact that they unwaveringly reissue classics on CD when the US has no memory beyond the last rap hit is something that I strongly applaud. This CD is one that utilises a real deep love for the music and spares no horses when it comes to the rich, real and often jazzy instrumentation. Fans of Jap-Jazz will really appreciate this. I hear echoes of the AB's "Deja Vous" on a number of songs and this can do nothing but bring a warm smile to my face. With all these great new releases making me smile, people will start thinking I'm either suffering from wind or on happy pills!!!'s the music, no more no less!

Anita Baker's smash hit "Caught Up In The Rapture" is very well done and the sexiness and clarity of the vocals is beautifully matched to the dreamy Fender Rhodes and relentless yet reassuring drums. Garry Glenn and Diane Quander's arrangement is totally stripped down and reshaped yet the essence still remains. This is one sexy vocalist and has elements of Vanessa Williams in the mix! Very tasty, methinks. "Georgy Porgy" is given a sensual reading and vocally we are betwixt Kevin "Loveman" Nash and Mic Murphy. This, too is very good indeed! Gino Vanelli's 1978 gem is also attempted here, and this is really interesting. Taken from a female perspective this is a jazzier interpretation and almost has a Michael J. Powell flavour in the dramatic drums. Donny Hathaway / J R Bailey's gorgeous "Love, Love, Love" is really given the red carpet treatment and a splendid job is done here. Again, a splendid working of The Five Stairsteps' "Ooh Child" cannot be beaten. Dreamy, soulful and totally excellent in many ways this song sums up the ambiance and atmosphere of the album. Not your run of the mill covers album, this is a really worthwhile purchase. I hope that we get some original compositions in the near future!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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