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Soul Express Album Review

Note: Read the interview with Steve Harvey from our printed issue 4/04
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The Everyday People Project

UK Expansion, 2006
LEDISI – I Can’t Let You Go / K.K. – Where Has The Love Gone / N’DAMBI – Stay With Me / RAHSAAN PATTERSON – That’s The Way / DONNIE – Keep My Name Out Your Mouth / LINN SEGOLSON – Troubled Times / KEITE YOUNG – Time Brings A Change / PRETTY TERRY – Shake It Off / N’DAMBI & KEITE YOUNG – If We Were Alone

Steve Harvey is a multi-talented man, and a gentleman to boot. His talents, in my opinion, are seriously undervalued by many, and his sturdy efforts all under his own steam only add authority to this man’s credibility, persona and aura. This new effort is a lot more grittier, funky and even rockier in places, although more in a Rufus mode than anything else. I know some who did not find this work as appealing as his previous material, and to be honest I can see where they come from, even though I do not share the same strong point of view.

For me, this is another chapter in the evolution of Steve Harvey, and offers us some pointers into where this man is headed. More important about a man, so some say, is the company he keeps. Well, going by the list of soulful folks attached to this project, this says a lot about him, and it’s all positive. OK, not every track is 100% to my taste, but most of it is, and it goes without saying that this is a mandatory purchase for anyone interested in quality, real soul music. Steve keeps it real with the likes of Ledisi, K.K., Rahsaan Patterson and N’Dambi and throws more real instrumentation into the mix than many do today, therefore creating a heady infusion of raw playing, raw talent and real, gritty soul music.

Ledisi kicks off with a superb 70s styled groove, much in the vein of The Temptations "’Round Here" and boy does this Lady shine. What a talent we have with Ledisi! She’s a gem. K.K. is a new name to me, and his smooth Gospel driven delivery perfectly complements the smooth groove. Stylistically he is a mix of Calvin Richardson / Jo-Jo Hailey with the phrasing of Parkes Stewart. Very nice indeed. Bobby Watson adds some brilliant guitar work too, and the Hammond Organ, flute and solid drumming create a perfect atmosphere befitting a summer5 afternoon.

A hero in many people’s eyes is Rahsaan Patterson. His unique vocal style fits Steve’s funky stye perfectly and "That’s The Way" is equally as good as anything on his last set for UK label, Dome. Steve and Donnie are no strangers to each other, and if you loved his 2003 set for Giant Step / Motown, then you will also appreciate the quirky and retro "Keep My Name Out Of Your Mouth" which follows on organically from this album. Here’s to his new album!

My personal favourite is the SUPERB "Troubled Times" by Linn Segolson, who is a new name to me. This is a dreamy, unhurried masterpiece – the kind of groove that Kindred SHOULD be doing now. Lynn’s stylish, smooth and sexy performance atop the summery groove is a real first-past-the-post effort. Gold medals all round for this. Many are highlighting "Shake It Off" as a cream track, and I certainly don’t disagree with this prognosis. I have been interested in many lauding Pretty Terry as a new name to look out for. As soon as I heard him sing I knew this was, in fact, no-one new to us seasoned ears at all. It is – as Steve himself confirmed with me – Terry Stanton from the Dazz Band. I love this guy’s voice and immediately spotted it. This is a very welcome collaboration, and Terry does appear to be striking out on his own as his recent collaboration with Jeff Lorber’s Shades Of Soul testifies. A memorable track and a memorable performance. It's one of those grooves which will stick in your head and refuse to budge. In truth, the last thing you can do is "shake it off"!

There’s a pretty duet with N’Dambi and Keite Young at the sunset of the CD, and rates highly against their individual songs on the set. It is sexy, close-knit and irresistible. I cannot recommend this set enough. Here’s looking forward to Volume 2!
-Barry Towler

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