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Soul Express Album of the Month - October 2006

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US Orpheus / HUSH CD, 2006
1) Until The End Of Time 2) Transitions 3) Hold On Me 4) How Can I 5) Can’t Get My Flow 6) Stay And Talk To Me 7) More Than Friends 8) Superman 9) Tell Me About It 10) Heaven 11) What Ch’all Waiting For 12) Superstar / Wind Beneath My Wings

"Transitions" is the strongest and most solid work from Freddie Jackson for at least a decade. It has also been a very successful effort as the first single lifted from here, the opening sweetner "Until The End Of Time" made it to number one on Billboard’s Hip Hop / R&B chart. With artists like Freddie hitting the top spot, and Kem also should this not be telling the idiots at the record companies something?! Although not my kind of ballad, the single has hit all the right spots as far as the general public in the US has been concerned and is rightly one of THE ‘wedding songs’ for 2006.

I am so pleased for the man, and am more pleased with this CD. It is very much a Freddie Jackson album but perfectly moulded – probably cleverly – to today’s more transient, and fickle, ear. This is not to say that it’s a sop to the hoodie wearing bling crowd – far from it. Beau and Charlie Huggins are in the driving seat and artists such as Marc Nelson and the evergreen and all too silent Paul Laurence also have input. I was impressed with Marc’s 1991 set "I Want You" which contained some real corkers, and he has spun his magic onto Freddie here and now in 2006.

I have four killers on here – all absolutely essential, but to be fair there isn’t really a bad or unlistenable track on the album. My first star pick is the delightful bubbler, "Hold On Me", which is unashamedly 2006 but has more roots in classic R&B than many other songs. Freddie is atop of his form on these types of cuts; delivery is effortless and soulful, rich and plaintive. The addictive rhythm and the synth and keys all transform this into a very moreish morsel indeed.

"Can’t Get My Flow" leaped out at me from the word go. It is a classic Paul Laurence midtempo number and I am so pleased that these two giants are together again. Whenever Freddie and Paul collaborate magic is sure to be the result. I cannot recommend this track enough, but I only wished that Paul had more input on this album – better still release another solo set. It's been 17 years since "Underexposed" and don’t I know it.

The best ballad by far on here for my money is the AWESOME "More Than Friends" which is a Marc Nelson number. This song is a wonderful track, albeit very similar to a few other songs. Imagine the lovechild of Demetrius Perry’s "Another World" and Al B. Sure!’s "Night And Day" and there you have "More Than Friends. This song is very much its own entity, though, but the comparison should get you excited anyway!

Another monster tune is Freddie’s cover of Asaph Womack’s "Heaven". He has taken an already great song and has sent it to the stars. This type of groove is perfect for Freddie and is one I would like to hear more of. The album ends on a very poignant and emotional tribute to the late, great and wholly irreplaceable Luther Vandross. I seriously miss this man and its obvious Freddie does too. For me it is important that artists such as Freddie continue doing what they do as I fear that I don’t see any new talents on the horizon that could seriously be compared to either. Today’s ephemeral anti-culture has seen to that, along with the scheming and penny-pinching record companies who want nothing but a quick buck and then move onto the next foul-mouthed rapper or clone.

There is also a second disc which is a limited edition DVD which features many of Freddie’s videos. These are all the bonafide videos – "Rock Me Tonight", "Tasty Love", "He’ll Never Love You (Like I Do)", and "Rub Up Against You" – and they’re all on here. I’m not into music videos at all, but these are nice to have nonetheless. It certainly makes this a very satisfying and worthwhile purchase. This album and what it has achieved should be celebrated and given as much exposure as possible. It’s in all our interests to do this. Please ensure that this CD becomes part of your next CD order or download.
- Barry Towler

Other Fresh CD Reviews
Albums of the Month in 2006
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