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Soul Express Album Review

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(US Kokoh, 2006)
1) For the Tender 2) How Far Can We Go 3) I Get Weak 4) Speechless 5) That Takes Me to Heaven 6) Too Close to the Fire 7) Meltdown 8) I Fell in Love 9) Assurance

Kokoh's beautiful voice and Leon Ware's sexy, sensuous productions. Put them together and we get “Meltdown”. Aptly titled, too, as the material on here is so hot that it threatens to burn the CD player! The first 7 songs are Leon Ware penned and produced songs, and all are essential. We are already familiar with “How Far Can We Go”, thanks to our dear friend Andreas Hellingh who shrewdly picked up on this gem back in 2005 for his “Soul Of Amsterdam” compilation (Expansion release titled Soul Exposed).

Kokoh, although a classically trained Ballerina (which excited my little girl!), can certainly turn her abundant takents to other areas. Singing is definitely one of these areas! Her sexy vocal talents are a perfect match for Leon's sublime arrangements. “For The Tender” opens the CD up and should, within a few seconds, have you totally captivated. Such a beautiful song... expertly produced and tenderly and soulfully sung. Outstanding modern soul. “How Far Can We Go” is a an exercise in sheer sexual delight – and why not! This horny groove still reaches the parts 99% of other “R&B” artists cannot even hope to reach!

“I Get Weak” is a faithful reading of the Great Man's own song from his 1995 album, “Taste The Love”. I admit to preferring the original version, and I can say the same about the title song, too. However these are new versions and are made in the Kokoh mould so are worthy in their own right. The song that floored me, however was “Speachless”. This is a seriously sexy piece of work and I feel the groove right where it needs to be felt. This is an outstanding track.

“That Takes Me To Heaven” is CLASSIC Leon Ware. The man contributes to backing vocals, and every note, every nuance of the song oozes class. It would not be trite to say the song is heavenly and well above the bar. “Too Close To The Fire” is yet another soulful, seductive and sexy number that tastefully and playfully deals with the issue of strong attraction.

The final two track, however, are not Leon Ware productions. The first does nothing for me I fear. “I Fell In Love” is too much like Toni Braxton meets Christina Aguilara for my liking. “Assurance” is a lot better and rides a gentle Latin rhythm. These cannot compare to Mr. Ware's productions. This album is deeply soulful and fans of real soul music and Leon Ware in particular must own a copy of this album. It's also available on iTunes should you have moved into the digital realm as I have.
- Barry Towler

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