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Soul Express Album of the Month

November 2004

Note: Read the fresh interview with Maysa from our printed issue 4/04
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Smooth Sailing (UK Expansion / US N-Coded Music, 2004)

Hypnotic Love - Smooth Sailing - Soul Child - Scat World - Where Do You Go? - So Very Hot - All Day Long - It's Time For Love - Where Have You Been? - One More Chance - Unexpectedly - Angel - Give Love A Chance

Maysa needs no introduction from me. We all know and love this Lady and know that whatever she does, she does it in style. Off all her albums I have to say that this is, in my opinion, the most consistent so far released.

Maysa is superb vocally, and her ample talents are precisely showcased at their best by producers Rex Rideout, Saundra Manning, Will Downing, Ronnie Garrett and Jean-Paul Maunick aka Bluey. Expansion have to take credit for their faith and confidence in this Lady and their unfaltering support for such a talent. As with the much-acclaimed Jabari Grover CD, "Smooth Sailing" could not be a more apt title for this release. Perhaps this set has more foot-tapping appeal with the likes of "Hypnotic Love", "So Very Hot", "Where Have You Been" and "Smooth Sailing", but the velvety feeling is ever-present if not very far underneath the main composition. Dwight Sills' guitar really adds some George Benson-type fervor to proceedings and Bluey really comes up with a blinder with "Soul Child". Hats off to the man for this particular effort. The vibes which this song evoke are simply heaven sent, and has a feel that is essential quality American feel than anything that we could connect with the UK scene.

Another special track is the excellent jazzy "Scat World" which features our hero, Will Downing, provide verse vocals - and another fave of mine, Ledisi, provides the scat. Who wants more than this? Whatever the case, more to this album there is, and a gorgeous beat ballad, "Where Do You Go" follows on smartly. I particularly feel the eerie synth and guitar work of the aforementioned Dwight Sills. If killer quiet storm ballads are as much up your street as they are mine then you like me will be absolutely blown away by the knee-trembling "All Day Long". I felt the same shiver when I heard this as I felt with The O'Jays "I Would Rather Cry" and Gary J's "Completely". More of this, please!

Lo and behold there is more like this - "One More Chance" will do the business for the old goose pimples a second time for you. The UK edition from Expansion also has two bonus cuts above the US edition. These two extras are "Angel" and "Give Love A Chance" which was both included on the excellent Club 1600 albums. For me, "Angel" is the better of the two and although cannot replace the original it is an excellent version nonetheless and better than other versions. As I have said previously, the autumn of 2004 has almost as much quality releases dropping as leaves from the trees. I love this time of year and music like this help make memories and evoke feelings. May we have much more of the same. An essential purchase for all concerned.
- Barry Towler

Albums of the Month in 2003
Albums of the Month in 2002
Albums of the Month in 2001
Albums of the Month in 2000
Albums of the Month in 1999
Albums of the Month in 1998
Albums of the Month in 1997

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