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Soul Express Album of the Month - June 2007

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Read the Interview with Mikelyn Roderick

Copasetic Is

UK Dome, 2007
1) Easy 2) Thinkin' Of Us 3) Slippin' 4) If You Really Love Me 5) Fantasy 6) Love Of My Life 7) Slick And Deep 8) Last Winter 9) Copasetic Is 10) Morning Light 11) Bless You

Mikelyn Roderick was one of the three members of the group By All Means, which recorded three strong soul albums in 1989-1992 but then disappeared. Jimmy Varner was the lead singer of the group, but Mikelyn (then using the name Lynn Roderick) duetted with Jimmy on a couple of tracks. I first heard about her solo career when James Day published his 4-track EP Remember When, which contained two tracks by Mikelyn, She's Not the Girl and the title track Remember When. However, when the 12-track CD album was released, Mikelyn was replaced by Audrey Wheeler singing She's Not the Girl and Catherine Russell singing Remember When.

This of course left me waiting for the solo project of Mikelyn Roderick, especially since I had instantly fallen in love with her angelic, soulful voice on those James Day tracks. Now she reminds me of Mica Paris, and Mikelyn has really matured a lot from her By All Means days. She is 43 years now, and she definitely is not a newcomer any longer. Her debut set is released on the UK Dome label, which probably makes you expect a lots of club oriented R&B sounds, but the album is really varied, containing both quality soul with real instruments and more modern sounds with programmed instruments, and there is a hint of jazz and Latin thrown in as well.

The album opens with a lovely mid-swayer titled Easy, which has a nice percussive rhythm and a very summery feel. Mikelyn has worked with Rahsaan Patterson earlier and co-written songs for him, and on this album Rashaan and Mikelyn have co-written Slippin', which is probably the catchiest upbeat tune on display here with its compulsive rhythm track and memorable melody line.

Rahsaan duets with Mikelyn on the Stevie Wonder cover If You Really Love Me, a song which was also chosen on Deniece Williams' recent Shanachie album. Mikelyn has dedicated the track to Syreeta Wright, who co-wrote the song with Stevie. Rashaan really sounds a lot like young Stevie on this duet.

Jimmy Varner also contributes on one track: Fantasy is written by Elle Varner and Jimmy Varner and produced by Jimmy. It proves Jimmy can still write soulful songs, as he was the mastermind behind most of the songs By All Means recorded, of course then together with Mikelyn and producer Stan Sheppard.

However, my personal favourite on the whole album is a track titled Slick and Deep, written and produced by Mikelyn together with Mark Rasmussen. It has been arranged in a delicous jazzy backdrop with real drums, bass and piano, and the melody is truly captivating. An absolutely gorgeous vocal performance by Mikelyn, and one of the peaks of 2007 so far.

The title track Copasetic Is is another winner, being written and produced by the same twosome Roderick-Rasmussen. The song also has a jazzy inclination, although the instrumentation is now stripped down to a minimalistic keyboard backing.

Morning Light is a modern mid-tempo goover that again reminds me of Mica Paris, while Bless You closes the album in a stylish Latin/Jazz-tinged tone not far from the style Janita presented on her previous CD Seasons of Life.

All in all, a strong debut. (Rating: 8/10)

Ismo Tenkanen
Soul Express

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