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Soul Express CD Review

Desi – Golden Lady
(US Clout Records, 2005)
Who’s That Lady – (She’s Got) The Body Of Life – Together Forever – Golden Lady – Unless She Comes Back Home – Wait Until You’re Ready – Takin’ It As It Comes – This Feeling We’re Feeling – Never Can Say Goodbye – Take Time Out (Talk To The Master) – Where Eagles Fly / Excerpt From The Lord’s Prayer – Takin’ It As It Comes (ballad groove w/ talk box) - Takin’ It As It Comes (sensual rap groove)

As soon as I saw that Al Johnson and Paul Minor had their hands in this release I knew immediately that this had to be checked out. I adore Al Johnson’s vocals, his writing and production and he shines on this collaboration with the excellent Desi. Desi has been known on the indie scene over the past 15 years, and has yet to disappoint. The CD as a whole is not as strong as I had hoped but there are 6 tracks on here that are really, really strong and will definitely need to be included on your "must have list" for 2005.

My first choice is the excellent 80s sounding "Together Forever" which is Desi’s own composition. This is the sort of track we would have enjoyed on Richard Searling’s "Soul Sauce" radio show when it was on Red Rose Radio. Superb! My favourite song though has to be the KILLER dancer that is the irresistible "Unless She Comes Back Home". This is Desi and Al Johnson at their uptempo best and although the story line of the song is quite sad, the music is so happy, positive and ‘in there’ that it is a dream of a song. This is exactly the sort of uptempo material that gets my juices flowing. Thanks, guys!!!

Again, another favourite is the interesting and funky "Wait Until You’re Ready" which has a hard, chunky beat and some tasty keys. There is also that classic New Jack Swing squeaky effect which was so prevalent in the late 80s and early 90s. Although those particular tracks sound pathetically dated now, this song certainly does not. In addition it has some superb, raspy sax courtesy of Brian Lenair. I heartily recommend this strong, strong dancer.

"Takin’ It As It Comes" is an enigma. I know this song already, and am sure I had it. But can I find it in my collection? Perhaps I am having what British Sage and Radio 2 DJ, Terry Wogan, calls a "senior moment"! Anyway, this midtempo effort is excellent, needless to say. There are also 2 other remixes at the tail end of this CD to check out too. You may have gathered from this already that I am favouring the uptempo material. You would be right; there is little of what I call balladry on here but that is a trifle, really.

There is one ballad on here that I recommend and that is "This Feeling We’re Feeling". The only thing that mars it for me slightly is the input of a heavy rock guitar. This similarly blighted the last Miles Jaye album. I can handle rock guitar as my taste is actually quite varied, but sometimes I find it quite inappropriate on some soul tracks. This is one of those moments, I fear. However, I am not saying this is a bad track, not in the least, but my enjoyment was damped a tad by this. Two gospel tracks can be found also, and the best of these for these ears is the excellent "Take Time Out (Talk To The Master)" which is a typical stylish Al Johnson number. It’s happy, positive and in these horrid times many will find solace in this type of inspirational groove. All in all this CD has some blindingly good moments, and is definitely worth a purchase for the above songs. In contrast there are some less appealing songs – the cover of "Never Can Say Goodbye" being one of them.
- Barry Towler

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