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Soul Express Album of the Month

November 1998


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MILES JAYE

The Odyssey
(US Black Tree CD, 1998)
I'll Never Go - Can I Come Over - Love Story - Step By Step - Wildflower - Marry Me - Irresistible (Instrumental) - Free Me - I've Been A Fool For You (Instrumental) - Man On A Corner - Can I Come Over (The Call) - I'll Never Go (Remix) - Love Story (The Story) - Superstar (Instrumental)

Let's cut the crap here. Miles Jaye is a real SOUL singer. And the man has delivered us a real SOUL album. Okay, it was actually due out in 1993, and I would say that this was not as consistent a set as his Irresistible set from 1989 but neither will you be disappointed. Miles is a rare breed in these days of monotone teenage singers and synthesised, over sampled music. His vocal style is in the vein of a classic soul singer, sweet one moment with the ability to croon, then rough and ready the next, growling through the best of songs with a sheer soulful power. Vocally, he is more in tune with the likes of Bert Robinson or Teddy Pendergrass and on this CD, his vocals are priceless.

I'll Never Go is a top-drawer soul cut that lies in the classic '80s soul ballad format that we are used to him doing. Joining him on this track is the superb, powerful Alyson Williams. You will be won over on this track alone, I know this for sure. Indeed, Can I Come Over, is a real honest to God soul GEM that will be played to death in this house. Glorious listening.

Similarly, Love Story is a winner, and musically sounds similar to Teddy Pendergrass' '90s ballad material. For me, though, the real SHOW STOPPER is the drop-dead, awesome Step By Step which is a CLASSIC soul track in every sense of the word. Miles' voice is unbelievable on this, and so is the vocal support that comes from a new vocal group called Halo. This group are traditional singers in the vein of the Temptations or the Dells, and their voices are superb. The hope that they may release a CD truly gets me exited. This is what people like us want to hear - not fake, fast food styled artists.

And so the CD goes on. Some material is rather patchy, but it isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination. Tracks 11 to 13 are variations on earlier tracks, but are different enough to warrant a listen. I'm not too sure about his slow rap, though. Best left to Barry White, I think. That aside, you will NOT want to do without this CD.
- Barry Towler


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