Thursday, 5 August 2010

Greg Blackman - The Price Of Love - 2010

Greg Blackman is, I will freely admit, a brand new name to me but someone who is someone I am eager to hear more of! Greg's heart lies in the warm sounds of yesterday and the greatness of Timmy Thomas, Stevie Wonder and Rodney Franklin are more than present. All these great artists are assimilated into Greg's expansive, warm and lilting style and as such I know that you are going to find this one hell of an album. No mimicry needed here...but has a real handle on these classic sounds and imagine vocal skills on the same level as Jeff Redd then what's served up here is something very special indeed. It's an engaging album for sure, fresh, lively, upbeat and not at all disappointing. Albums like this really make hardened skeptics like me sit up, take notice and want to dig a little deeper. This is a mighty good thing, and to me implies that the likes of Greg Blackman are artists with depth, credibility, substance and dare I say it...longevity. Times are hard, contracts neigh on impossible to get unless you're willing to be shoved in the corporate sausage machine, and funds scarcer than ever before. Yet artists like these will always be wanted as they are timeless and as such need to be hailed today, right now and not 2 decades down the line when some DJ falls over a copy cheap somewhere.

The album starts as it means to go on and that is with style, class, finesse and character. The flavour of the early 70s is strong here with a slight Timmy Thomas approach, vocalised in a great Jeff Redd fashion...the percussion is lively and the organ floats along nicely too. This is such a lovely track. For me, hearing this song and this song alone on radio would be more than enough to prompt a purchase. Gorgeousness is not restricted to this song alone. The deep moog on "Leave This City" is straight out of Rodney Franklin's mid 80s Columbia work and the spacey synths and dreamy keys reminisce of George Duke. Oh yes...this album increases in sublimeness as the album progresses. "Change" is a lazy, hazy summery affair complete with organ and reminds me of the mellower efforts on Buddy Miles' last set for Hip-O back in 1998. If you liked the Tommy Sims album then "My My My" will be up your's a 70s flavour yet fully in today's mode. Again, the vocals are outstanding and on this track I am inclined to liken him to the great Jeff Perry. My choice track on here though has to be the beautifully serene and well-crafted "Tell You Something". I cannot stop playing this song. Warm, encompassing and with a catchy refrain that will settle in your grey cells and refuse to leave...genius. I cannot say any more on this set bar wholly recommend it.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe