Monday, 3 January 2011

Al Olive - Dream - 2010 - Al Olive

This is the album I have been eagerly awaiting. "Slow Down", played on radio by Ralph Tee and included on Soul Togetherness 2010 is, for me, one of THE standout tracks of 2010. We've not had to wait too long for a full album from this massive talent, and I am sure that there will be something for everyone on it. The hit song is included here as you would expect but in a slightly remixed and extended form. It's lost THAT special fluid 1980s flavour, perhaps, from the original version for me and that's still not important. Why? It does, though, have extra haunting synths that are really, really tasty. STILL the song is a monster and this is EXACTLY the type of soul / R&B record that I want to hear in 2011. Record companies, are you listening? No, I thought not. Where I compared this groove to the sadly missed Luther Vandross, on many tracks we hear echoes of the vocal facets of Gerald Alston, Al Johnson and even Brian McKnight in the vocal arrangements.

Track two, "Dream" could easily be lifted from Brian McKnight's latest set. A song that totally floored me was track four, "There For You". Imagine Al Johnson produced by Brian McKnight on a song similar to "Anytime"...that is how essential this song is. I was in my car driving up the M25 when I first heard this and I can honestly say that if I hit repeat once I must have hit repeat half a dozen times. You know a certain song that grabs you, makes you really sit up and take notice...this is one of those songs. Add to this the amazing female backing vocals wow. Almost on par with this is a song called "Never" and the haunting synths and piano line work well and the real instrumentation is second to none. The programmed "L.O.V.E" is worth a spin too, and the smouldering "Heartache" will appeal to fans of the old Soul'd Together compilations in the early 90s. Think Randy Wilson or Claytoven. Whatever happened to these artists and that label?! Anyway, fans of the man from the song they have heard will not be disappointed, and enough exists on here to appeal to a wider, radio-frindly pop/soul audience. And there's nowt wrong with that. What Al Olive has done is keep true to himself and NOT pander to the thug element. 'Nuff respect, Al. Keep on doin' what you're doin'.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe