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Brown Baby Girl
(US Brown Baby Girl, 2006)

1) Devotion 2) The Race 3) Been Here Before 4) Feels Like Love 5) Stay 6) Absolutely 7) Jonzin 8) Breath You 9) Feel It 10) Cosmic Thrill 11) Time Zero 12) Cake 13) Ignorant Bliss

I stumbled across this great duo on CD Baby then on MySpace where they have a great page set up. Makes mine look silly! LOL. Anyway, this album really will appeal to lovers of soul with a jazzy edge. The music is real and not programmed and very much in the bag of those who loved the recent albums by Joslyn, Sophia Darcell, Jazzhole and even Me’Na or Liberty Silver.

Vocalist Lorenda Robinson is a strong singer who reminds me a bit of Veronica Martell. Her clear, sharp vocals are sharp yet smooth when they need to be. Those who take note of our Quality Time cream cuts will find a home on this album. Her delivery on the superb downtempo "Been Here Before" exemplifies what I am taking about. The fact that the backings are all real adds that extra sparkle to proceedings. The flugelhorn has always been one of my favourites as long as I can remember and it has been used to optimum effect on this particular effort. The brassy and bubbly "Devotion" should be enough for you to click the "add to basket" icon alone and by itself renders the album a must-have.

There is a perfect mix of soul and jazz here which is a difficult balance for many. I hear echoes of Bridgette McWilliams "Too Much Woman" or even Vanessa Rubin’s "That Was Then, This Is Now" here. It really is that good. "Feels Like Love" has a lot of Jazzhole to it, so if you love the sound of Mr. Saunders and the gang then you will equally love this sort of material.

The only programming I can hear is on the SUPERB ballad "Stay". God, I love tunes like this!!! The piano is really forefront on this simple yet beautiful tune. You won’t find many records of this calibre about at the moment. "Stay" is a song that I simply cannot stop playing. It gives me chills, and the more songs I hear like this the better. "Absolutely" is a lot more jazzier and I love the melody and how the vocals sync with it.

There really is an attunement and a symbiosis rarely achieved many artists that exist between Lorenda and her musical partner Jamie Finegan. This is further laid bare on the bluesier number "Breath You" which features some nice Robben Ford / Les McCann moments courtesy of Chris Morrison. Jamie’s piano skills remind me of Bob James’ more intimate moments on the lovely "Cosmic Thrill" which has a great mid 80s Columbia feel to it. Bob James as well as Rick Braun are also in mind on the ethereal "Time zero" which, if more laid back, would be horizontal!

This is great material for putting the feet up with a bottle of wine and the jolly old candlelight…this track comes highly recommended. If you want rousing a little, the jaunty "Cake" will surely do the business. Lorenda is both jazzy and soulfully forthright and exhibits a fantastic vocal range here. Why artists like this are not greater exposed absolutely maddens me. Please check this album out. Soul Brother has copies, as does CD Baby. Do not overlook this album.
- Barry Towler

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