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Soul Express Album Review

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Throwback: Harlem 1979 – 1983
UK Soul Brother, 2007
1) Midnight In The Streets 2) Scandal 3) Keepin' On 4) Hold Up 5) It's So Easy (You Can Do It) 6) In The Moment 7) Fly Girl 8) Moment Of My Life 9) All Into You 10) Under Da Radar 11) You Are My Number One 12) Hello It's Me

Leroy Burgess is by any standard an unsung hero. With a musical history stretching back to his early 70s output on Perception with Black Ivory, his work as a producer throughout the 70s and 80s is exemplary More recently we have seen the man's style live through the soulful House / Garage genre which I am a BIG fan, and he even guested on the fantastic “Your Love” released on 12” (also on iTunes!) by Chez Damier back in 2004. The man is a massive talent and a legend to boot. No wonder Soul Brother's double CD on the man sold like hot cakes.

This CD should excel that. It features songs from 1979 – 1983 which have never seen the light of day. Many are original songs, and some are versions of cuts he wrote for others such as “Fly Girl” which he penned for Intrique. The album is essential, of that there is no doubt. However, i am not convinced that these tracks were recorded in this time frame. They sound way too contemporary. Either this man is 25 years ahead of his time or he has borrowed a TARDIS I don't know. Maybe he remixed them? No matter. Its quality feelgood uptempo boogie soul at its very very best.

Midnight In The Streets” starts the album as it means to go on. The uptempo party vibe is so addictive It has the same power that seduced me to Woody Cunningham's “Never Say Never” set a decade ago. “Keep On Keepin' On” is fantastic – the vocals of this man are immediately noticeable and there is something strangely reassuring about this. I suppose I don't like change and instead relish familiarity. Whatever the case, this track is top dog. “Hold Up” is achingly 1980s but with a modern urban feel. Again, I am sure these have been remastered with today's market in mind. Should be a smash CD in the right circles. I have always cherished Dino Terrell's “It's So Easy (You Can Do It)” and here is Leroy's own reading which may not have the charm of the 1985 version that Darryl Payne produced, but this is still a stonking version!

Intrique's “Fly Girl” is given a really tasty makeover complete with pumping bassline and guitar licks. This is really a honking-stonking tune and is one of the clear winners from the set. I have played this track to death and will continue thrashing it! “Moment Of My Life” is an essential rumbler too and will be another regular basspin-rumbler. I can also heartily recommend the gratifying midtempo “All Into You” with its dreamy rhodes and keys. Things don't get better than this. But, in fact they certainly are on par with it! “You Are My Number One” may have a quirky start but the squelching groove and piano belt into a thundering beat driven Soulful House number that should reach the parts that other tracks don't reach! More, more, more! Such a fantastic track that everyone should have this.

Soul Brother have a real gem of a find here and I for one cannot get enough of this CD. Let's hope that the Pragnell Brothers and Mr. Burgess, of course, do splendidly with this. A mandatory purchase for anyone into real soul and boogie music.
- Barry Towler

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