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Soul Express CD Review

Tata Vega: Totally Tata CD
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Totally Tata
CD reissue by BBR (UK, 2011)
The original album on Tamla, 1977

Mr. Troublemaker - Blame It On The Sun - Come In Heaven (Earth Is Calling) - Deep Inside - Jesus Takes Me Higher - Love Comes From The Most Unexpected Places - It's Too Late - You'll Never Rock Alone - Ever So Lovingly - (BONUS TRACKS) - Come In Heaven (Earth Is Calling) - Come In Heaven (Earth Is Calling) (unreleased single B-Side) - You'll Never Rock Alone

"Totally Tata" is definitely an album of it's time and totally in tune with the releases Motown were releasing at that time.  This, according to the Lady herself, is her favourite album and does have a lot of weight behind it when we sit, after 34 years and listen again.  Michael B. Sutton, Motown staff writer, is very evident on this and works very much in a brassy Leon Ware mode on the opening "Mr. Troublemaker" which is great to hear again.  My favourite song on this album has always been - and always will be the epic "Come In Heaven (Earth Is Calling)", a song partly written with Marvin Gaye and featuring the unmistakable vocals of Al Johnson.  The song is arranged beautifully and has a lovely Philly feel to it to boot which does nothing but elevate it higher and higher.  The CD benefits, too, from two bonus version including the full single version.  Although I don't follow any creed or religion, the tone of the song and the message doesn't in the slightest repel me in any way.  Musically and vocally it is truly magnificent.

The dreamy "Deep Inside" also makes for a great listening experience...Tata Vega has such a lovely, distinct and unique voice it's criminal that we hear no more from this lovely Lady.  Another crackin' track is the fun, uptempo and hook-laden Brian and Brenda Russell cut "You'll Never Rock Alone"...this deserved to be massive and still sounds great today; Friendly Womack sounding great on this early 70s sounding Jackson 5 throwback sound.Greater still is that Jermaine Jackson adds his vocals to the bonus cut version...SO...if you bought the Japanese CD release a few years ago then, yes, you need to get a copy of this too!  Great as it is for to release these albums I wish that we had the proper album artwork on the cover rather than the dreadful 'art gallery' look.  I don't know about you, but this really puts me off - silly as it may sound to some.  BUT better to have it on CD than some awful, rumbly old piece of vinyl!  All credit to David Nathan and the gang for securing these treasured releases for posterity.

-Barry Towler

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