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Soul Express Album of the Month - October 2007

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Natural Vibe

US Root Soul, 2007
1) Natural Vibe 2) Come Over 3) You Know How To Love Me 4) I Would Be Your Love 5) You Are 6) Take Me Away 7) The Sweetest Sound 8) Baby I Need You 9) Never Knew Love Like This Before 10) Only To You 11) Never Stop 12) If 13) Natural Vibe (House Mix) 14) Come Over (Root Soul Mix) 15) Natural Vibe (Night Mix)

Classy, classy, classy. This Lady has joined the ranks of April Hill, Kendra Ross and ALS as delivering what can only described as a standout album. The Ladies are certainly coming on strong at the moment, and my only fear is that Soul Express Connoisseurs won't have enough spending money to afford all of these releases! If you fell in love with the Juanita Dailey album back in 1998 (yes, it it was released that long ago!) then you will need this in your collection.

Tammy Harris sets such a high standard for herself, and meets it each and every time. I am impressed all the songs included in this debut CD, but the song that has really got shivers running up my spine is the Night Mix of “Natural Vibe”. The soothing synth, late night sax and indulgent acoustic guitar and piano immediately pressed all the right buttons. Tammy's wispish, soft spoken dialogue and sensual texture speak of barely restrained passion which is teased even further by the real instrumentation. As far as quiet storm music goes, this would be a perfect choice for an intimate moment. Perversely, there is a House Mix of the same song. This takes a completely fresh approach a la Hardsoul / Ron Carroll, and vocally Tammy is breezy and sexy. This well may as well be a completely different track – it does not spoil or detract from the Nigh Mix or the straight album mix either, and that is equally as tasty with its wah wah guitar and swarthy organ. Now that's what I call music!

Tammy has covered a few choice favourites of mine on here, too. “You Know How To Love Me” and “Never Knew Love Like This Before” are given a fresh coat of paint, and not a stray bristle to be seen either. It shows me exactly what foundations Tammy is building her musical house on. Other songs like “You Are” appeal to me as they are perfectly delivered, brimming with real instrumentals. Vocally I hear a mix of Juanita Dailey and Adriana Evans on the longer notes. The brooding “Only To You” also wins, as does the 80s jazzy soul appeal of “I Would Be Your Love”. Echoes, musically of Al Jarreau's early 80s work here. Think his “This Time” or “Jarreau” era and you're not wide of the mark. This song is a definite highlight.

“Come Over” is another song which comes in two different versions, both of which sound very good to me. Again these are very different frameworks for the same song, and this is surely a great talent at work. Anyone who creates a slinky groove with flugelhorn thrown in surely wins my vote! This is definitely one of my albums of the moment, and surely one of my albums of 2007. ESSENTIAL.
- Barry Towler

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