Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Danny Boy - It's About Time - 2010 - Death Row Records

I was not at all certain about this CD. Everything pointed towards my disliking it. The label made me raise my eyebrows, and thus unleashed my unhealthy musical snobbery that tends to raise it's head now and again. That aside, I took a listen and was very, very surprised at what I heard. I had known about Danny Boy from his previous work with rap artists Tupac, Don Killuminati and La Coka Nostra. Does this justify my uncertainties? Possibly. However, what I am saying is that conservative types - myself partly included - need not turn their backs on this young artist. The album is solid, yet I would wager not in the least new. Having avidly bought many releases through the 1990s I was not averse to the odd Jodeci track; the New Jack Swing sound and so forth and still think that producers such as Devanté Swing and Dave "Jam" Hall have a lot of talent and a lot to offer. This album sounds to me as if it was recorded and shelved in 1995 / 1996. The very fact that one luminous guest star is the late, great Roger Troutman points to the fact that this song, at least, must be well over 11 years old.

"Blow Your Mind Away" should show you that this is a singer of substance. His vocals are similar to - but infinitely better than - Raphael Saadiq. The groove reminds me, also of a warm, summery Tony! Toni! Toné! type groove and in my book that's no bad thing! I also love the very sexy female vocal additions too! Roger and his talkbox appear on the superb "Between Me And U", featuring some great early 80s styled keys and warm, yet haunting synths. This is such a strong track - a beat ballad of note and proves that this young buck is no whiny young R'n'B artist but one to sit up and listen to. "So In Love" is a real winner too - the slow gait, summery vibe and flute make this a real chiller. I can't stop playing this. Another track that I can heartily recommend is "Can I Come Over" - a typically stylish mid 1990s type ballad that fans of that era would appreciate - think Asanté, Brother Nature etc. What a groove!

From track 9 the Jodeci sound is rather prevalent. Heavy knocking beats, gospel-tinged harmonies and plenty of Roger Troutman-styled talkbox. I happen to like this, mostly, and this also makes me feel that this set is a wee bit anachronistic! Back in the 1990s this could have been lost...today it stands out from the crowd and sounds pretty darn good. "If U Don't Mind", complete with Barry White styled guitar licks is a real Jam Knock and takes me back to the "Diary Of A Mad Band Era". The synths underpinning this is very haunting and just what I like to hear. What does appear more contemporary is the DJ Quik produced party jam, "Steppin'". This really is a happy tune and reminds me slightly of the superb rap effort "Doggy Dogg World", which, of course was majorly graced by the Dramatics! The final choice is the wonderfully sax-laced "Come When I Call". Almost like a Kenny Lattimore track, this is going to wow you. A very surprising album and one that I am pleased has helped re-open my mind that appears to have become more closed of late!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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