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Soul Express Album Review

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Too Tough / Teaser
UK / Expansion CD, 2008
Too Tough (1983)
1) Too Tough 2) Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing 3) Tonight I Give In 4) You Could Take Me Home 5) Love You Too Much 6) Is This A Dream 7) Song For A Rainy Day 8) I Can See It In Your Eyes
9) Accept Me (I'm Not A Girl Any More) 10) Rainbow Inside My Heart
Teaser (1983)
11) Special Delivery 12) Call Of The Wild 13) Nothin' But A Teaser 14) I'm On Your Side 15) Penetration 16) You're A Special Part Of Me 17) Still A Thrill 18) Gotta Make It Up To You 19) Crazy For Him

An excellent a welcome second release through Expansion for this David Nathan imprint. The first being Dionne Warwick's “Hot! Live And Otherwise” - not a CD I reviewed in full as I was awaiting this release to mention it! LOL. I am not one for live recordings, and found it an odd set to release as a début album release however the fact there are 2 bonus, unreleased cuts on there make it essential – and “Right Back” from 1981 is a wonderful unreleased gem; sophisticated, soulful and up there with the best of her work. Anyhow, I digress!

I totally understand and approve of David raising the profile of Angela Bofill of late, with the great beautiful lady having had two strokes and being at the mercy of the punitive system that they criminally allow to be called healthcare in the US. Every effort is being made to help this Lady pay the massive medical bills, and a percentage of the sales of this two-fer are going to that cause. Both sets were, of course, released in Japan but with the cost of living soaring out of control, it's easier on the pocket to buy these as a UK release and not a Japanese import. So, salutations to both David and Ralph for their hearts and minds on this one. Two gentlemen if ever there were any. For me, I had always leaned more towards “Too Tough” as the better of these two albums, although my favourite song appears on “Teaser”.

From the “Too Tough” album, the title track is OK but not exactly what we would expect from the Lady – however it was a product of its day, as are most things and for that it stands. I am more impressed with songs such as “Tonight I Give In” and the delicious “You Could Come Take Me Home” - both fine works from the legendary Narada Michael Walden. I feel these songs are more in keeping with the quality end of soul music at this time, and pays homage to the jazzy footing she created with GRP in the late 70s. Arista were proud of Angie, and promoted this well, Clive Davis even making her a priority! God, those were the days! The bright, breezy and midtempo “Love You Too Much” is a real gem; a winner by anyone's standards and is very welcome as a release here in the UK on CD. Again, the brassy “Is This A Dream” works well and adds credence to Angela Bofill as one of the 80s better female soul artists.

“Teaser”, released later in 1983 was a more subdued effort but still totally worthwhile. My all-time favourite track of Angela's can be found on here, that being “Gotta Make It Up To You” - five and a quarter minutes of sublime, sexy female soul which has QUALITY stamped all over it. Rarely, in my honest opinion, did soulful female tracks get better than this. Angie really knew how to work this song and producer Narada knew how to ply the lady to the sexiness of the song. Another song of note here is “You're A Special Part Of Me” featuring the much underrated Johnny Mathis. This gentle duet is very, very good and also appeared on his must-have 1984 album “A Special Part Of Me”. There are any number of reasons to own this CD, so pick one and buy it anyway! ESSENTIAL 80s soul.
- Barry Towler

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