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Soul Express Album of the Month

October 2003

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Best Kept Secret (US UgoBo, 2003)

Right In Da Pocket – Ain’t No Doubt About It – You Said Goodbye – Sorry – Precious Girl – Baby Its About U – Makin’ Love – Step Back – Touch Me – You’re The Lifeline – West Coast Girls – I Wanna Thank You

The Temptations have always spawned the most fantastic of vocal talents since their inception: David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Damon Harris, Dennis Edwards, Ali-Ollie Woodson, Theo Peoples and now Barrington Scott Henderson. Bo, as he is affectionately known, has departed the legendary group on very amicable terms and paves the way for the legendary G.C. Cameron to fill his shoes.
The result for us is his recording of a "debut" solo album that ranks as the most important set since the Keith Washington / Gene Rice / Rodney Mannsfield releases early in the 1990s. If you were excited with, invigorated by and cannot be without those albums, and bemoan the lack of this type of material today then look no further than "Best Kept Secret". It certainly rates as one of the best soul albums in at least 15 years at any measure. There is not a single track to bypass, skip or ignore on this album. I am equally impressed with the funky midtempo material, the paced floaters as well as the powerful and dramatic ballad performances and as a result we have a CD that you put in the player and leave to play through.

Just sit back and wallow in the soulful abundance of this CD. This album should NOT be kept secret – everyone shoul be hollering to the world about the magnificence of Barrington and his music. My favourite songs are definitely the ballads, hotly pursued by the steppers. Of the ballad efforts, "Precious Girl" is without hesitation a MINDBLOWER … definitely a Quality Time moment and one of my Sophistsoul achievers of 2003. This is what real soul music should be about in the 21st Century … sophisticated, downbeat, rhythmic, elegantly vocalised and sung with a performance of superior quality.

Barrington proves again and again that he is a Soul singer par excellence delivering rip-roaring, heartfelt vocals that are smooth as silk in one breath and rough as sandpaper the next. Do not be deceived by this man’s talents. Following his vocal nuances and prowess are like taking a daredevil ride – he lets rip when you least expect him to causing great exhilaration to the listener. This is what Soul Express readers want to hear – a catharsis from the deepest depths of a man’s aching soul supported by sexy rhythms, gorgeous textured melodies and funky beats.

The other KILLER ballads, "You Said Goodbye", the orchestral "Sorry", "Baby Its About U", "Making Love" and "Step Back" will grip your stomach and get your adrenaline pumping – so exciting and vibrant is this style and delivery that one can almost forget we live in the age of commercial teeny R&B and rap. The early 90’s swing feel of "Touch Me" is a gripping bouncer with those haunting Monte Moir cum Gary Taylor synthesiser flourishes and has Bo delivering his lyrics very much in the vein of Phil Perry. In fact, if Phil Perry had done this song this would have been the crowning song of his album.

"Ain’t No Doubt About It" can also receive the thumbs up for being above bar in all areas of soulfulness. "Best Kept Secret" is a modern classic, and everyone who considers himself or herself a soul music lover should own this without delay. One of THE albums of the year, the past decade – whatever. ESSENTIAL.

Available via CD Baby or Barrington's website ( Go on...treat yourself!
- Barry Towler

Albums of the Month in 2003
Albums of the Month in 2002
Albums of the Month in 2001
Albums of the Month in 2000
Albums of the Month in 1999
Albums of the Month in 1998
Albums of the Month in 1997

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