The Soul Express Album of the Month

May 1999


Passion Jazz, 1999
1) You Can't Go Back 2) Shooting Star 3) Chained 4) Close to Heaven 5) Love Is Healing 6) Little Rose 7) I Am a Camera 8) The Deepest Blue 9) Feels Like Rain 10) Goin' All Out of My Way 11) Emily 12) You Can't Go Back (reprise)
Words can't describe what a MAGNIFICENT and TRULY ESSENTIAL CD this is. For those of you who adore soul music, vocal jazz and music played as it used to be with real live and talented session musicians, then you will want this CD immediately.
There are so many positives with this album that however I try I simply cannot do enough justice to it. Like an extremely fine wine Arnold McCuller's voice has so many elements within it: there are traces of Leon Ware, Booker T. Jones, Phil Perry and even Curtis Mayfield in places. Unlikely though it sounds, the man's luxuriant voice is really that expressive.
There isn't a single track that is beneath the sophistisoul level! For starters we have the lyrically positive You Can't Go Back which is SUPERB and is thoroughly essential with the vocal nuance of Leon Ware / Booker T. Jones with an aura of Maxwell's Sumthin Sumthin or even Matrimony: Maybe You as the tasty backdrop - although more rich and `real'.
As for the other cuts, Close to Heaven is really beyond belief. Love Is Healing haunting to the extreme, filled with sax and live session musicians layered in ultra-soulful vocals with a chorus very much Leon Ware in feel. You cannot and will not want to do without this track.
There is a variety here, too, with the Latin cut I Am a Camera with the Phil Perry vocal touches, as well as the smoky jazz club feel of Goin' All Out of My Way - delicious! In addition, The Deepest Blue is a showstopper in every possible sense: check out that smooth and velvety voice... Mmmm.
Finally, Feels Like Rain is a cool, jazzy downtempo number with some very stylish lyrics. All the other tracks are equally outstanding - that you will discover, and agree with yourself. Deliciously essential, wonderfully refreshing and must be owned by those who love classy music.

The review by Barry Towler exclusively for RECORD CORNER, which is one of the leading soul shops in the world. The review is not featured in our printed issue.

Other albums of the Month in 1999
Albums of the Month in 1998
Albums of the Month in 1997

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