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Soul Express Album Review

City Teacher OST
(UK Expansion, 2007)

1) LENNY WILLIAMS – Inner City Rainbow 2) FREDA PAYNE – Welcome To The Human Race 3) JOHNNY BRITT – In The Meantime 4) RYAN COX – Read Between The Lines 5) PRESTON GLASS Ft) GEMIA AUGUST & OLSKOOL ICE GRE – The Deeper You Go 6) CES TU – Streetlight 7) SUSAN THERESE & JASON WEAVER – Leap Of Faith 8) ELAINE GIBBS – Better Than Yesterday 9) DAMIEN DELUXE – Piece Of Mind 10) PHAROAH'S DREAM – Ask Somebody 11) DAVID LASLEY – I Just Wanna Know U 12) RAYAN COX – Daily Drive 13) PRESTON GLASS Ft) CRAIG THOMAS & OLSKOOL ICE GRE – Ghetto Legacy 14) RYAN COX – Love-Dog, Content Prisoner (Instrumental) 15) SUSAN THERESE – Stop Running 16) RYAN COX – Same Sun Shines On Everyone

Now, this album was a bolt out of the blue! Expansion have released the soundtrack to this gritty new film starring Glynn Turman, Ella Joyce, Frank Vincent, Heather Tom and... Public Enemy's excellent and most soulful, passionate rapper, Chuck D. What the film itself is like I don't know – I'm not one for films unless they're B&W British comedies - but the soundtrack is one that you will want in your collection, that much I know!

The set is produced by an old favourite of mine – Preston Glass. Preston follows on from his excellent “Street Corner Prophecy” album with a similar set that is a collection of talents, both old and new. I have to say that I do tend to lean towards the older talents than the new but there we are! If you like the production work of Preston Glass then simply order a copy of this now. The flavour has a Philly edge, and musically reminds me of his astounding work with The Stylistics on their essential “Love Is Back In Style” set back in 1996.

The opening song is a definite grower, and the more you hear it the more you will love it. Lenny Williams has been on the scene for years now, and he sounds as great now as he did during his tenure with Tower Of Power. “Inner City Rainbow” may be an odd title, but an odd tune it certainly isn't. My next choice from Freda Payne has an odd title, too – but yet again it is a superb track filled with slap bass, flute and vibes!

“Welcome To The Human Race” is one of THOSE tunes to wheedle its way into your head – I assure you that you will find that somehow it got into your head, and once there it is hard to shift. The wonders of a catchy hook line, eh?! Nice to see Lenny and Freda on another soundtrack too – they last sang together back in 1987 for the Penitentiary III soundtrack on RCA. And that's well worth hunting down if you don't own a copy!

A track that has being doing great business on Solar and Starpoint radio is a song by Impromp2 member, Johnny Britt. His “In The Meantime” is right up your street if you love the Impromp2 sound. This, I am sure, will be the track that will sell bucketloads of the album. Or so I hope. Now, Elaine Gibbs is a new name to me... but the tune – or rather the melody – is definitely not! I hear a remarkable resemblance in places to Stevie Wonder's “Moon Blue” - though I am sure that this is a co-incidence! An excellent track, anyway.

For me, though, the killer has to be David Lasley's superb Philly-styled offering “I Just Wanna Know You”. I love David Lasley's powerful, yet paradoxically, vulnerable voice and his execution of this song is just amazing. I cannot stop playing this song. This was released in the UK on the 29th October, so is now available to purchase. This album is a bit of a coup, and should do very well for Expansion. Well worth a purchase.
- Barry Towler

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