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Soul Express Album of the Month

June 1998

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(US/UK Island CD, 1998)
Love Letters - Tomorrow - In and Out of My Life - Whatever You Want - Sure - Wish You Better - Crucial - Since Loving You Is Crucial (reprise) - It Only Takes a Minute (feat. Wayne Hector) - Crazy Don't - Bitter Honey - So In Love - Feelin' You - Maybe Today

Crucial is a very apt and prophetic title for this set of MONSTER "New Classic Soul". Ali is a London born vocalist who will do nothing but delight those of us who truly love REAL SOUL MUSIC.

The CD was recorded in the USA and it will not take you long to discover that this guy has the most remarkable and soulful voice that we have been treated to in years. His voice is breathtaking blend of Ronald Isley, Phil Perry, Al Green and Bobby Womack. Ali doesn't have to pretend to be these people; his vocal phrasing is amazing and is an all-embracing mixture of all the aforementioned artists.

The set is one that will favour the traditionalists much more than the homies, which is fine by me! Although some tracks have an urban feel, the very few samples that have been utilised are done so sparingly and with a feel of humility and respect. Keni Burke's Risin... and Steve Parks' Movin' in the Right Direction are there.

I honestly cannot fault any track on this CD and I will only say that you would be a fool to overlook such a classy, soulful and dazzlingly talented artist. For those who are into Maxwell, Rahsaan Patterson sort of thing - sit back and see this young man storm into the arena. He means business and we should tip our hats to Island for taking a massive risk in investing a lot of time and money in this guy. No messing about - just get a copy.
-Barry Towler

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