Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Tom Glide And The Luv All Stars - In The Name Of Luv - 2010 - Expansion

Another top-draw release from Ralph Tee and the boys at Expansion; one i didn't expect to receive nor expect to be so darn good! From the US we have a mighty collaboration of artists headed by the aforementioned Tom Glide, who's roster of talent includes vocalists Tim Owens and Orlando Johnson, and musicians as strong as Byron Miller, Larry Dunn, Patrick Green, Alex Al and James Gadson amongst many others. bar a few ballads this set is mainly uptempo and party orientated, perfectly in touch with the best of the best sets from the UK and Europe at the moment. This is an exciting project to both receive and listen to and it warms the cockles of my heart to see so many notable names on board from the US making proper music that will certainly make your senses sing! I am especially pleased to hear Tim Owens in action again...his 1991 set for Atlantic boasted numerous cream cuts and the promise of future classy releases. Unfortunately as the decade progressed the homeboys took over and any shade of quality was ditched for whatever urban tripe MTV favoured that month. Yet here he is, alongside Orlando Johnson doing what he does best - making crackin' music.

As you may expect from the inclusion of Larry Dunn there is a distinct Earth, Wind & Fire rhythm threading through all the songs, and I think that the brassy stabs and rhythm guitar are right in the bag from the word go - Tim Owens' totally enjoys his part in "Get It Off" immensely, and the flavour is both totally today yet mid 1970s to boot. Also, the following cut, "What's Your fantasy" enjoys some funky licks, percussion and soulful, zingy strings. This is blindingly good and still doesn't equal the amazing ballad which is track three, "I'm Crazy", featuring Orlando Johnson on vocals, a voice that has the echo of Lenny Williams in places. I am, as you should be aware, a sucker for a string section. What the guys have cooked up here is almost in THAT mid 1980s Columbia mode...Think Rodney Franklin's "Love Is The Answer" or Philip Bailey's "It's Our Time"...I have played this song so many times I'm sure the CD has burn marks on it! The strings are simply out of this world and all concerned have conspired to give this a wonderfully haunting atmosphere. If only there were more songs of this nature about today. I, for one, would be a much happier man.

The slammin' beats and Philly-ish guitar break boundaries with the edgy horn riffs on the uptempo number "I'm Not The Same Man" - a track that could easily become a modern soulful house thumper. Now this is a tasty thought, especially as it's increasingly the case that US House music resembles quality 70s soul dance material! the strong horn-filled EW&F effort "Can You Feel It" won't disappoint, nor will the super-strong "Luv Is Comin' Up"; a track that should get some feet on the floor. This is brilliant material from the US in 2010 and I cannot get enough of it! "Come To Me" rollicks along atop a shifting, shuffling gait, funky guitar licks and horns, and better than most of today's US material. The Zapp-like slammer "Love Me Like U Do" features vocalist Rahmlee, complete with hand-clapping beat. This is almost Roger Troutman circa 1980! Putting the CD to bed is the lovely and serene ballad, "In The Name Of Luv" which features Orlando Johnson. Albums like this, from the USA at least, are very few and far between. Every track a winner; no fills and no compromises. Another essential soul set for your collection.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe