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The Soul Express Album of the Month

December 1999 - January 2000

Elektra, 1999
1) Application (I'm Lookin 4 A New Love) 2) Callin Me 3) Nothin to Somethin 4) Strings, Strings 5) Let Me Know 6) She Done Been 7) Heart Don't 8) Don't Take It Away 9) Second Time Around 10) Misery 11) Baby U Are 12) These 13) Somebody's Baby (Interlude) 14) Nothin to Somethin (2000 Watts Mix)
Produced by Darrell Allamby, Kenneth Dickerson, Gerald Levert, Edwin Nicholas, Ken K-Fam”, Donnie D-Major”, Joe Little III
Gerald's previous set, Love & Consequences from last year, was something of a disappointment with its overt emphasis on teeny R&B, but I'm pleased to report that this new CD is a worthier effort and sees Gerald find his way to my personal top twenty of 1999.
Admittedly, the first five tracks are more street-oriented than one would wish, but all of these cuts are better than some of the turkeys on his previous set. What's more, even choppy rhythms can't hide the fact that both Application and Nothin to Somethin are quite soulful ballad compositions.
The Craig T. Cooper-co-produced Baby U Are is unusual because Gerald sings parts of it in a falsetto, and the tune itself is a mid-paced Philly floater … la You Know How to Make Me Feel So Good. Not surprisingly, Cooper adds his customary guitar licks to the proceedings.
As expected, the real highlights are found among the more traditional ballads, all of which are backed by real instrumentation, including real strings. Misery is a slow burner with blues overtones, whereas Don't Take It Away is a more conventional affair. She Done Been is a magnificent deep soul ballad with a typically gutsy vocal performance, and These is an emotional knee-trembler with a spacy arrangement. What's left is my personal favourite, the soon-to-be-classic Second Time Around which begins as a subtle groove ballad, but grows in intensity before reaching an ecstatic finale.
All in all, with three excellent tunes plus five good ones, this album is a safe buy for all of Gerald's fans. (8) -KH

The review from the issue 4/99.

Other Albums of the Month in 1999
Albums of the Month in 1998
Albums of the Month in 1997

Other CD reviews
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