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Soul Express Album of the Month - August 2007

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The Woman I Am

US Eee Project Records, 2006
1) The Woman I Am 2) Come See About Me 3) Dim The Lights 4) What Am I To Do 5) Be Good To Me 6) Our Love 7) Selfish One 8) Love Overnight 9) Promises 10) Quality Time

Elaine Stepter is vastly overlooked talent who should be a LOT bigger. Those in the know, though have been flying the flag for a long time. The flags will be waving for this album for definate. This album is quality. If you loved recent sets from Misa Malone, Me'na, Chandra Currelly, Liberty Silver and the like then you need not fret about this CD. Just order it. Having been on the scene since the mid 80s we have had 3 albums now and a few singles, as well as an appearance on Motown's “Meteor Man” soundtrack in 1993. This new effort is an exercise in jazzy, quality soul with no compromise to the Urban radio market. Elaine lets the quality speak for itself. No gimmicks needed or wanted here.

I guarantee that you will be sold on the opening title track. The instrumentation is real and Elaine is as sexy as she wants to be; jazzy and seductive, this is what she is and no messin'! Don't be fooled by the rather jerky opening to “Come See About Me” (NOT The Supremes etc track) as it is not a homage to the kind of trash that flosts in and out the charts nowadays. It swiftly transforms into a tasteful and jazzy midtempo creeper.

I am a great fan of sax as you know, and this works well within the slinky soundscape that is “Dim The Lights” - another sexy and grinding cool effort that will not disappoint. If muted trumped and smoky jazz is your bag then the more traditional setting of “What Am I To Do” will be up your street. Fans of Liberty Silver and Me'Na will not be disappointed. “Be Good To Me” is a bit of a step to the left with its quirky guitar and organ, and very good it is to boot. The lyrics to “Our Love” are very nice, and I feel sung from the heart. Someone's a lucky boy! LOL. The use of guitar adds a more AOR feel and this is something that some could do without, but I for one am not averse to a little bit of guitar now and again, as long as artists don't make too much of a habit of it!

I listened to her cover of “Selfish One” with a keen ear. This is a groove that has a subdued late 60s flavour, and I can see a few so-called “Northern” Soul listeners thinking that it should be more uptempo and four-to-the floor. There's more than a promise of Ronnie McNeir in there for me, and I for one like it a lot. The final cut is aptly titled “Quality Time” - and this is where I am sure it will reside once the Editor hears the album! This is a quality effort, and Ladies of Elaine's talent should be given a lot more exposure.
-Barry Towler

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