US Verve, 2007
1) Been Here (Intro) 2) Joy 3) You And Me 4) Best Friend 5) Alright 6) Think Of You 7) Today 8) Get To Know You 9) Upside Down 10) In The Morning 11) I Tried 12) Lost And Found (Find Me) 13) We Are One 14) Someday 15) Someday 16) Been Here (Outro)
I am a big fan of Ledisi and have to admit to being rather let down about this album.
But this is me. Many pundits out there are raving about the set. Ledisi is known for her
boundless vocal energy and talent, and use of real instruments. Ledisi can switch from soulful
diva to Latin Jazz queen at the drop of a hat and its this dexterity that appeals to her legions
of fans on this side of the pond. There's no doubt that this album is worth a purchase,
but for me it is too smooth, all one-dimensional and monotonous. Not enough variation on a
rather long album can spell boredom and sameness, and I fear that this suffers that fate.
I usually applaud the likes of producer Rex Rideout whom I consider a great talent,
but what he has presented here is a bit too...smooth jazz...for my liking. Thank God it's NOT
a set of cover versions!
There is no “Take Time” or “Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue” on here. This is very similar to
Vesta's 1998 album, “Relationships” so if you liked that then this is for you.
Songs that do impress include “Joy” with its bubbling percussive backdrop and freaky keyboards.
This song is very catchy by way of its chorus, and allows Ledisi's more smoother vocals take
the reins. “Best Friend” has a great summery vibe, and could be a track that Brian McKnight
could easily have produced. Think about the best tracks from “Ten” and you're not wide off
the mark. “Yes” is another winner, albeit programmed as is the more robust and aurally
interesting “Get To Know You”. The best and most lively tracks are the 80s sounding stepper
“Upside Down” which is more imaginative and challenging on the grey matter, and the laid back,
acoustic Toni Tony Toné-ish “Someday”.
This album suffers from a real lack of imagination in the production, a singular lack of real
instruments (why don't we ever hear great sax on a soul track anymore???) and also in that
Ledisi is far too restrained in the vocal department. If this is what turning to a major
label does for you, then stick with the independent route, missus. For me there are far more
important albums on the market right now - Tammy Harris, ALS, Ronnie McNeir and Onyx 1
to name but a few.
- Barry Towler