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Soul Express Album Review

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Soul Comfort
US John Martinborough CD
1) Doing M’Thing 2) Music 3) Please Comeback 4) Love 5) I Like That… 6) Soul Comfort 7) Dream 8) Spring Rain 9) James Donovan 10) My Brother 11) The Light 12) Peace And Blessings 13) Untitled

Newcomer Nhojj delivers us a very nice, warming little set which has vocal elements of both Maxwell and Pete Belasco, and on the musical front the vibe is fresh and definitely of a soulful vibration. Logo magazine described his vocals as “honeyed, subdued and unadorned”…I can’t argue with that. Nhojj also does not beat about the bush musically, and has employed some of the finest session players for this set, including keyboard player Carl Evans who has worked with Stevie Wonder and Barry White, guitarist David Stark known for his work with Rick James and Teena Marie, and Luis Miguel’s percussionist, Tommy Aros.

Track one, “Doing M’Thing” really does speak volumes about what the gentleman is about – he is literally doing his thing, and having a ball at the same time. The funkiness is what we would expect from an Amp Fiddler set, but far less street if you know what I mean. The instrumentation is, as appears to be the norm again, very real and the funky guitar licks, brushing drums and warm keys are miles away from the squeaky, programmed R&B that the majors are churning out at present.

If you enjoyed the more soulful tracks dropped by Van Hunt, then “Please Come Back” could be likened to something that he would do on a more soulful day, but that said, “Love” with its hushed, gentile premise is much more to my taste. A fair few tracks are excellent yet woefully short and give but a mere insight into what we may expect from a future album. It’s this variety and fusion of the short and sweet with the funkier elements that make this CD gel well. Following a series of shorts you will discover an excellent track called “Dream” which rolls along nicely with subtle bass guitar and flute. This is a real gem, as is the excellent “My Brother” which reminds me of a Toni Tony Toné cut from their last album in 1996.

For dancers, check out the Chic-ish guitar funky licker “The Light”. The horns, blow, the drum beats proudly and the groove is tighter than a Tupperware seal! This is great but the real KILLER come sin the form of “Peace And Blessings”; a FANTASTIC cut that simply shines out like no other. This is total quality in the form of a Leroy Hutson classic – think “Lucky Fellow”, “Closer To The Source” or “So Nice” and you are not a million miles away from where you need to be. The CD is therefore thoroughly ESSENTIAL for this track alone, let alone all the others I have already highlighted. This song, complete with soulful sax and horns hit me as strong as when I first heard Cam’Elle Hinds’ “Sausalito Calling” back in 1994. This is a real killer and deserves to be played on the radio every hour on the hour! LOL. Check this out on and hear what I am talking about for yourself. What a great new talent, though, and an album that comes highly recommended!
- Barry Towler

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