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The Soul Express Album of the Month

November 2002

Livin' On Love
UK Expansion, 2002
I Can't Wait / Uh Oh / I Never Loved A Man Before / Can't Go Back / Long After Midnight / Secret Garden / Go Away Little Boy / Crazy For You / Where Is Your Love / Never Let Me Go / Livin' On Love / When I Call You Mine
Produced by Ted Perlman

It's hard to imagine that's it's 15 years since Peggi Blu's previous album, the excellent Blu Blowin' (Capitol, 1987), the album I personally rated the # 2 soul album of 1987, while the number one was If I Were Your Woman by Stephanie Mills. Coincidentally, Peggi Blu has also recorded with Stephanie Mills back in 1983, when Stephanie and Peggi duetted the absolutely wonderful song His Name Is Michael on Stephanie's 1983 Merciless album.

The obvious first question is then "where has Peggi Blu been during all these years?", but you have to wait for our next printed issue to find out the answer, when we expect to have Ms. Peggi Blu in our exclusive interview. Anyway, those who have been enthusiastic collectors of Expansion releases, surely remember a track titled Love Is the Magic, which was featured on the very first Expansion Soul Sauce compilation (Volume 1) in 1992.

Label owner Ralph Tee states on the Expansion website that "the label has been trying to make her find time to complete an album ever since", but it took them another ten years to have this album released.

The new album is produced by Ted Perlman, Peggi's husband, who also did a great job producing the recent Even Now album for The Manhattans. The album featured a soulful ballad titled Let's Try Love, on which Peggi duetted with Gerald Alston, and as Ted mentions in the CD leaflet, "Peggi blew the roof off in a steamy duet". The song was written by Sam Sheppard and Jimmy Varner of By All Means fame.

Livin' on Love does not probably include the indisputable monster cut that would make this set an instant best-seller among soul circles, but believe me, this is a more than worthwhile effort with plenty of quality cuts. The track that has probably gained most attention is Peggi's reading of Go Away Little Boy, a tune made famous by Marlena Shaw, and Peggi's interpretation is very reliable and powerful, too. Brandon Fields is featured as the tenor sax soloist, while Gerald Albright plays electric bass this time.

Other strong cuts on the album include the atmospheric floater Uh Oh (featuring a fine guitar solo by Ted Perlman), the acoustic guitar flavoured ballad I Never Loved a Man Before, the melodic mid-tempo burbler Can't Go Back and the conventional soul ballad smoocher Long After Midnight, which peaked at number 4 on our Quality Time Cream Cuts chart.

A couple of less inspiring, pop-flavoured numbers (Where Is Your Love, Never Let Me Go) follow, but then we are offered a real treat when Peggi sings the title track Livin' On Love, which is the most impressive new song featured, written by Ted Perlman and Phil Cody. -IT

Peggi's brand new website:

The album of the Month in October 2002: Various Artists: Organic Soul 2
The album of the Month in September 2002: Maysa
The album of the Month in August 2002: Brenda Hillman
The album of the Month in June-July 2002: Will Downing
The album of the Month in May 2002: Kloud9
The album of the Month in April 2002: Ledisi
The album of the Month in March 2002: The O'Jays
The album of the Month in February 2002: Jill Scott
The album of the Month in January 2002: N'Dambi

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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