Tuesday 13 April 2010

Lamar Thomas - No Rain, No Rainbow - 2010 - Thomtay Records

Lamar Thomas and Judy Taylor have been delivering the goods for many a year now, and their recent works have been covered here, and it's great to see a new solo set from the Man himself, Lamar Thomas. Lamar is a great talent and a very intelligent man. You can tell from how he writes, how he things and how he as an artist working for himself has survived. It's always been an uphill struggle for our music and I take my hat off to those like Lamar who remain standing and - as this set proves - keep up with the times. Now, there's keeping up with the times and there's surrendering or pandering to vogue. Fear not. This work is very much 2010 - it's not backward looking or anything like that but a...continuation...this fluidity and continuity in artists such as Lamar Thomas is something to admire. the album, too, will not disappoint fans of the man. It is, all told, a solid set and one that has had a lot of thought process, time and effort put into it. Thoughtful and mature lyrics are a favourite of mine, and as such I can honestly recommend the title song. Also, being a sucker for an interesting and non-linear arrangement as well as jazzy flute I am well won over!

Some may take surprise at the heavy and club-orientated House / garage sound adopted on "I Feel Good". Though, in truth, you shouldn't. Lamar's voice and style is perfect for this type of groove and recent House jams have benefited from the likes of Terry Dexter, Evelyn King, James Ingram and so on. It's a natural expression and suits the man down to the ground. Play this song LOUD. Feel that deeeeeep bass! I heard "If I Had My Way" a month or so ago on YouTube and since then this modern jam has SERIOUSLY grown on me. Easily throwing down a gauntlet to today's generation of Ne-Soul Hippity Hoppers, this song easily stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of what the whippersnappers can do. It's a real grower, and the lyrics are not as wispish as you may imagine. I detect some real anger behind the words. Lamar Thomas sees the world for what it is, and far from being a pious and self-edifying effort it's more of a statement of understanding. Not, as I originally thought, a riposte to Smokey's old classic, "My Soul Is Not Responding" relates to the deterioration and collapse of a relationship. It speaks of a hurt and a numbness. A poignant song.

"Love Come On" is a bubbly number with what can only be described as a near Reggae backbeat. the guitar here nods towards the City of Brotherly Love, and the groove smacks of today, but QUALITY today. I think that you, dear reader, are going to LOVE "You Do Magic"...the bouncy castle beat and sweet sax is superb and Lamar sounds absolutely superb against this groove. Gerald Alston would do a great job on this, too. Again, the flute comes in and works wonders. I LOVE this song - well worth the price of entry for this song alone, let alone the aforementioned!!! "Blue Dress" is another sure-fire winner and I would be very surprised if this was not played to death on quality radio. There is a really flirtatious, sensual and sexy bassline...almost predatory and horny that is "That's What You Get". The beat and rhythm arrangement is modern, intelligent and imaginative...the haunting synth is something else much sublime. This is a great track, devastatingly so. Younger R'n'B fans may not get this set. Older heads may take some time to get into the vibe. Others, like myself can hear the marrying of past and future - and the final song "You Don't Know What Love Is" perfectly sums up this amorphous mulch...lyrically classic, soulfully delivered, yet totally modern and forward thinking. Ladies and Gentleman...the evolution of Lamar Thomas - and promoted and marketed by the good people at www.soulchoonz.com.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe