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Soul Express CD of the Month - November 2010


Feels Like Heaven

US Jones & Matthews Entertainment, 2010
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1) It's Over 4:16 2) Heaven 3:47 3) Finally 4:07 4) Let's Sway 4:32 5) Imagine 4:20 6) I Had A Talk With My Man 5:04 7) You Are Why 5:13 8) Old School Interlude 2:08 9) Positively Absolutely 3:59 10) Brighter Day 4:16 11) I Just Want To Say 3:50 12) Running Out of Time 5:20

I witnesses the Blackpool Luxury Soul Weekender concert in 2008 where Shirley Jones shared the stage together with Jean Carn and Alyson Williams, and I was certainly impressed by the ladies' singing power and elegance. Anyone who missed the show can buy the Ladies Night Out CD or DVD to check Jean Carn's and Shirley Jones' part of the show, and on the CD/DVD Cherrelle is the third songstress, who was replaced by Alyson Williams in Blackpool.

Feels Like Heaven is a brand new album release by Shirley Jones, and it is a further proof that the ex-Jones Girls lead singer is still in brilliant vocal form. If you remember The Jones Girls from their silky smooth harmonies and mellow Philly soul backgrounds, Who Can I Run to from the live CD/DVD and many tracks on this new album demonstrate that Shirley is also able to deliver quite deep and powerful soul ballads. Maybe the choice of the Mitty Collier classic I Had a Talk with My Man also describes this, although it's delivered on a very airy guitar laced backdrop.

Feels Like Heaven is Shirley's third solo album. Her first solo set Always in the Mood was released in 1987 on Philadelphia International label, and it is currently available as a reissue CD with 2 additional tracks. The album included the number one hit Do You Get Enough Love, and two other hit singles Last Night I Needed Somebody and She Knew About Me. The second solo set With You was released in the U.K. on Diverse/ARP label back in 1994, containing the excellent new sax-drenched tracks I've Been Expecting You and Come Closer, both of which were co-written by Cynthia Biggs.

The upbeat tunes here on the new album don't have the same appeal as Shirley's Philly soul gems, but the ballads are all very classy and should satisfy old Jones Girls fans. All the songs except the Mitty Collier classic have been written by Charles Matthews (music) and Shirley (lyrics), and Matthews is also the producer and arranger on the album. The strongest new compositions here are the opening track It's Over and the equally attractive ballad tunes Heaven and Finally. Imagine has similar kind of ethereal background as the Mitty Collier cover.

I Just Want to Say is the track that has the closest feel to the old Jones Girls ballads. Listen to the sound tracks on Shirley's own website and check the YouTube video of Shirley's live version of the old Jones Girls classic Who Can I Run to.

- Ismo Tenkanen
Soul Express

Soul Express Video Pick from YouTube

Shirley Jones: Who Can I Run to (Live)

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