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Soul Express CD Review

Beau Williams: Bodacious CD
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Capitol (1984) reissue by Funky Town Grooves (UK, 2011)

Don't Say No / The Last Time I Made Love / C'est La Vie / Danger Zone / Dark And Lonely Nights / You Are The One / Slave / You Do It

This album is a real must-have and being a BIG fan of the vocal talents of Mr. Beau Williams, it's lovely to have this on CD. I have always regarded 1984 as a monumental year for soul music - definitely one of the best and at any rate far more impressive than anything this side of the huge firework display we call the Millennium. Back then, soul music, R&B, whatever label you want to stick on it was REAL. We had real singers, real talent and proper songs that embraced structure, melody and rhythm. We were blessed with dancers, mid-tempos and ballads and all created with YOU in mind. The classy mid-tempo snappy electronic tapper "Don't Say No" is brilliant and highlights Gary Taylor at his 1980s best, delivering a strong cut in the vein on his work with Carl Anderson's "Let's Talk" a year later.

Strings feature nicely, too, on the ballad "The Last Time I Made Love" - not the greatest of ballads but the strings are typical of THAT classy 1984 period. I miss those days and although we drown in... let's not beat about the bush, CRAP today... labels such as Funkytown Grooves are giving those who yearn for style and substance something to nourish their souls and fill their CD racks. Robbie Nevil may have had a hit in 1986 with his own version of "C'est La Vie" (and crackin' it is too), but this 1984 version also cuts the mustard along with some great sax work from Dave Boruff. "Dark And Lonely Nights" with it's urgent flavour gives Beau an opportunity to deliver some brilliant vocals... there is NO-ONE out there today emerging with such vocal prowess and this saddened me.

Gary Taylor's uptempo freaky funk of "Slave" is worth a mention as it attempted very well to stand alongside mainstream efforts by the likes of Prince, The System or even Madonna at this time, but Gary Taylor has the edge for me and although rock guitar is present we have some gorgeous funky Moog and synths... only Gary Taylor can work this kind of magic! "You Do It" with it's great live feel and Maze-styled keys has Beau singing very much in a Cuba Gooding mode! The strings add to this aura and draw down the curtains on this particular CD.

I know that FTG reissued 1986's "No More Tears" some years ago, but I would personally love to see them resurrect the set again as well as 1983's "Stay With Me". Keeping the vibe alive, as always. Classic and classy.
-Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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