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Soul Express CD Review

Paul Laurence: Haven't You Heard CD

PAUL LAURENCE

Haven't Your Heard

Capitol (1985) reissue by Funky Town Grooves (USA, 2011)

1) Strung Out 2) She's Not A Sleaze (feat. Lillo Thomas, Freddie Jackson) 3) You Hooked Me 4) Good And Plenty 5) Racism!!! 6) Haven't You Heard 7) There Ain't Nothin' (like Your Lovin') 8) I'm Sensitive 9) Strung Out (International Version) 10) She s Not A Sleaze (Extended mix) 11) Strung Out (Extended Dance Mix) 12) You Hooked Me (12")


Paul Laurence Jones III as we also know him had been making his indelible mark on the soul / dance scene for a number of years prior to this 1985 release for Capitol. We were already in love with his progressive electronic synthy – yet always soulful – repertoire of songs and it was about time his solo efforts came to pass when capitol saw fit to unleash “Haven’t You Heard” onto the streets. Yes, we had already heard Paul Laurence in his sound, his style and his trademark bass lines, melodies and riffs... as distinct a production style as any of the greats, Paul Laurence Jones III served up a familiar dish of strong floorfillers and soulful midtempos.

The single lead from this set was the magnificent, moody, finger-clicker “Strung Out”. As you expect with Funky Town Grooves, the 12” extended version is also here in all it’s glory as well – and for my money is the Guv’nor version. Lillo Thomas appears here as guest vocalist alongside recent solo artist Freddie Jackson on the summery “She’s Not A Sleaze”...a track that carefully, cleverly and rightfully distinguishes between sleaziness and sassiness... anyone who has met such a Lady will know exactly what these guys are getting at! The ever popular classic “There Ain’t Nothin’ Like Your Lovin’” played as much a part of the electro-soul soundtrack as anything by Bill Summers or The System and as with the other efforts here remains a strong, strong floorfiller to this day.

Testimony to Paul Lawrence is that he still works and produces today, though criminally nowhere near as prolific as he should be. Working with Freddie Jackson and on Lillo Thomas’ latest CD he provided – for me – the sole decent track on that album, to which he displayed a slice of sultry 2010 soul with “Baby Girl” which harks back to his 1980s recordings for Capitol... for me though, “Haven’t You Heard” is all about the uptempo material. I find the ballad material weaker...a situation he turned around in a big way on 1989’s “Underexposed” set. “You Hooked Me” is the best of these ballads from 1985, and with a subdued, less programmed feel Paul shows us his vocal dexterity nicely. I am literally over the moon that this album has seen release on CD...enjoy, as once it’s gone...it’s gone.

-Barry Towler

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