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Soul Express Album Review


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VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Soul Desirables

UK Expansion, 2007
1) LUTHER VANDROSS – Bad Company 2) SARA DEVINE – Dance 3) LATHUN Ft. INDIA.ARIE – When Love Came In 4) RONEE MARTIN – It's Good To Be Loved 5) K.FOX – For Goodness Sake 6) DONNIE – Cloud 9 (DJ Spinna Remix) 7) BRIGETTE MCWILLIAMS – Can't Get Over You 8) TIFFANY – Tell Me Why 9) DONALD MCCOLLUM – No Matter What I'll Do 10) MICA PARIS – Sixth Sense 11) KENNY LATTIMORE – Days Like This (Black Sand Mix) 12) AMEL LARRIEUX – Sweet Misery 13) INCOGNITO – Where Did We Go Wrong (So Right Mix) 14) TRINA BROUSSARD – Dreamin' Of One (Good Love) 15) JACK HERRERA – For You

Soul Desirables is the latest in a series of compilations featuring the choices from the soul circuit, and now UK DJ Geoff Bingham has a turn to compile a set of songs hitherto hidden away on Japanese releases, or are rare remixes. A few songs are previously unreleased too. As a collection it really does nothing for me. To be honest, it may as well be the same one song included a dozen times. You see, my complaint is that most songs are too street and simply too samey. Major labels may well have the money and resources but they often have the least imagination and it is here where I feel most songs fall down. Not all is lost, though.

The opening song is a good effort from Luther Vandross and can be located as a bonus track on the Japanese version of his 1998 set “I Know”. I would not have rushed out to get a Japanese copy had I heard this. Thankfully “Dream Lover” and “I'm Only Human” were left on, and this was left off the US and UK release. Sara Devine has given us some great moments, but I feel that Masters At Work know how to work with this Lady. “Take Me Home” and Louie Vega's remix of the beautiful “Special” beat “Dance” hands down. It's nice but instantly forgettable.

Motown released a very dull album from the youngster Lathun back in 2001, and the best song on it (the only song worthy if I remember rightly) was this cut featuring India.Arie. “When Love Came In” is a nice moment but hardly earth-shattering. India.Arie sounds like she's about to nod off to sleep, and Lathun is hardly animated. Is that an autocue I see before me?! The beautiful Ronee Martin recorded a set for MoJazz back in 1997 but thanks to the homeboy invasion, Motown had it shelved. This song comes from that session, but does not compare to her excellent offering on “People Make The World Come Round” which was released late on in 1996. Please track that album down if you can.

Rightly so! Steve offers an unreleased production from a girl called Tiffany. I really like this Lady's vocals and I would like to hear what else Steve has in the can with this Lady. This song sounds too much like a lot of the other songs on here though. The beats are clattery and the groove plods along without any real verve. This type of sound is big here in the UK, though, so many will like it. Not my cup of tea, though.

Donald McCollom has a nice inclusion here – an unreleased track – a song that should have been on his recent set. “No Matter What” has a firm old school tempo and thankfully the 'silly noises' which afflicted his album are not in abundance on this song. The funky, scratchy music and the soulful voice do the business very well, thank you! Again, though, not a song I will be playing in a few months time, let alone years.

I know many will be happy with the inclusion of the in-demand “Sixth Street” from Mica Paris. This song, however, leaves me stone cold and for me the Lady hasn't done anything of worth since her work with Patrick Moten. I find this boring, mechanical and typical of the UK street soul scene which has me digging out the Kitty & The Haywoods album for solace. There is a rare remix of Kenny Lattimore's “Days Like This” which slows the tempo down and exploits the man's soulful vocal talents nicely, but again it lacks kick and simply plods along like a wet bank holiday Monday.

I do not blindly worship at the altar of Incognito as many do, but I do have a tempered appreciation of Bluey's talents. I feel that this remix, previously available as vinyl only, does the band justice and is a highlight on this set. The penultimate track is an unnecasary and brain-numbing remix of “Dreamin' Of One (Good Love)” by Trina Broussard which sucks out all that is good, soulful and feel-good. The drum machine dulls the track and again makes the track hum drum and lacklustre. Steve Harvey had it right first time, and it should have been left well enough alone. Jack Herrera's “For You” brightens things up and hats off to Jon B for this production from 2000.

If this is the best that the major labels and remixers can come up with then God help the future of soul music that's all I can say. All in all a very “off the boil” Expansion release and one that I will file and forget very quickly.
-Barry Towler


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