Richard Earnshaw may be in his mid 30s but the skill and mastery of those true music icons that have preceded him are truly in his DNA. I invite you to get 60 seconds into "Good Love" and not be bowled over. The haunting synth that gradually leads us into a pulsating, hard-hitting dance groove is sublime, and fans of Jamiroquai will lap this up over and over again. Vocalist Erik Dillard shines and provides an equally strong soulful approach that nails the song as a killer yester-now boogie tune. Intoxicated by this massive, massive tune we are hit a second time by the KILLER "My Door Is Open" featuring the powerhouse and unique Carleen Anderson...I've never been a great fan of this Lady, mostly through her material BUT on this she shines, shines and shines...this late 70s boogie number is MASSIVE...the horns, hi hat and funky bassline will get the most reluctant feet on the floor and the horns are superb. Welcome to 1979 31 years on!
The legendary Jocelyn Brown adorns the dico house of "Worthy" graciously, dominantly and with such finesse...if Divas Of Color's recent track featuring Evelyn King is to your taste then this will be equally toothsome. The next track is simply the jewel in the crown...although I have one HUGE complaint about it. The dreamy, beautiful keys and gently ascending beats and rhodes are nothing short of divine and the bassline sexy beyond belief...the whole groove is so Roy Ayers that it hurts. The spoken word by Ursula Rucker is highly righteous and essential...Roy Ayers' vibes typically brilliant BUT...but...why the hell put an annoying (and I do mean annoying) static / vinyl crackle LOUDLY through the song. It ruins the beauty of the track and, franky, I ditched crappy vinyl years ago for CD and certainly do NOT want to have this ersatz noise overdubbed on what has to be one of the most essential songs of 2010. I trust that they do the decent thing and remove it forthwith prior to proper release later in July.
Natsha Young adds some real smoothness and quietude to the laid-back and dreamy "Young And Foolish" and follows a brilliant instrumental in the shape of "Green Room". Following this gem is a real barnstormer featuring the UK's very own soul superstar Kenny Thomas. I have always rated this gentleman and not once has he let us down. This song, "Waiting" pitches Kenny into a maelstrom of disco-funk complete with Roy Ayers' vibes. Sounds good? No, it's actually far better than good AND the tonal changes are very Stevie Wonder circa his classic 1972 - 1976 period. Yeah...that's how they have this jam sown up. Imogen Ryall's "Cry Me A River" adds some atmosphere and shade, complete with 70s Lonnie Liston Smith keys, and to close down the set we have another head-spinner in the brilliant dancer "In Time" featuring Erik Dillard and vibes supremo Roy Ayers. Honestly, I cannot enthuse about this album more without my writing becoming parodaic. If only they scrap that awful crackle...but regardless this is one the the most essential albums that you will need to buy this summer. Let the hot, hazy days roll on and on and on...
The Vibe scribe