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Soul Express CD Review

Jon Lucien: I Am Now CD
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I Am Now

RCA (1970) reissue by Big Break Records (UK, 2011)

1) Dindi 2) When I Look In Your Eyes 3) Shadow Of Your Smile 4) Find Yourself A Lover 5) Love For Sale 6) My Cherie Amour 7) I Am Now 8) How Insensitive 9) Who Will Buy 10) Time For Us 11) Sound Of Music

Bonus track:
12) Who Will Buy (Mono Version)

"I Am Now, I Am Me, I Am Today", as a statement from Jon Lucien, means a lot to those who knew him. Jon was very much a man who understood and acknowledged his essence as one with nature. This shines through in his performances. I always mourned the fact that Jon was never the immense, highlighted, talent that he deserved to be. Yet, possibly, this may have been detrimental to his unique productivity and talent. For those of us who are lucky enough to know this most hidden of musical gems, Jon Lucien will forever remain one of life's richest, truest pleasures.

This 1970 album saw Jon's debut feature many, many cover versions of popular songs from the Great American Songbook, as well as from Brazil's Antonio Carlos Jobim and the UK's Lionel Bart. Jon wrote one original on here, being the swirling string-laden "Find Yourself A Lover", complete with flighty piccolo and flute. This is the Jon Lucien we really know and love, and those who commented on this album at the time saw and heard great promise from this song... and why not? It definitely is one of his classiest songs, and there are many of those! Do not dismiss the cover versions, though... Jazz fans will already know and love the incredible version of "Who Will Buy?" from the UK stage play "Oliver!"...sublime Latin Jazz. Never has Lionel Bart's work sounded so great!

Jobim's "Dindi" is also a gorgeous version and his take on Stevie Wonder's classic "My Cherie Amour" is also well worth a hearing. The strings on here really make it special and almost rate as high as Gene Page's work or even the great Percy Faith. The overall feeling we get when listening to this set is a sense of drama, effortless performing, off-the-cuff vocal inflections and, as always, perfect timing. Thankfully BBR have released this gem and have included the mono version of "Who Will Buy?" for a start. We know, with hindsight, that Jon Lucien would become one of THE most classiest, if unsung, artists of the 20th Century and beyond.

The work of Jon Lucien will NEVER die, grow old or become irrelevant. For me, Jon Lucien will be forever Now. Rest in Peace, Jon. You are still very much loved.
-Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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