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Soul Express Album Review


SOUL TOGETHERNESS 2003 (UK Expansion, 2003)

TOWER OF POWER – Nothing Like It / MELODIE SEXTON – New Beginnings / IMPROMP2 – Give It Up / UNIFIED TRIBE – Take It All / KELLI SAE – Can’t Wait / THE FUTURES – Part Time Man / RENEE GEYER – Be There In The Morning / GIFT OF DREAMS – Feel It / RUBY ANDREWS – Merry-Go-Round / NIGHTFLYTE feat. JEAN CARNE – If You Believe / DENISE TICHENOR – There’s No Me Without You / MELODY STEWART – I Must Say Goodbye / EBONY ALLEYNE – In Love With A Stranger / THE FRANK POPP ENSEMBLE – Breakaway / THE CHESTNUT BROTHERS – Travellin’ On

For my money this is definitely the best most value for money inclusion of the Togetherness series to date. We have some more essential soul tunes and rarities on here and one can see why these events are popular. Where else can you hear such solid, stomping good soul music? Not round these parts I can tell you! The album sells itself. The opening song builds up nicely with a REAL drumbeat and launches full-square into a CLASSIC Tower Of Power moment easily as good as their previous works back in the 1970s with Lenny Williams and Michael Jeffries. This is basic, pure and honest ‘feel good’ real soul music and never fails to cheer me up and raise a smile. A top-drawer dancer and I can see the old talcum powder being sprinkled over a few small dancefloors for this number.
Impromp2’s "Definition Of Love" is contender as album of the year for me and many others, and the UK copy contained 2 extra cuts including this Freddie Washington produced Patrice Rushen-esc "Give It Up". Definitely in the "Forget Me Nots" category. I have already enthused about the Magic-led Unified Tribe, and this dancer is a welcome edition – but do not overlook their essential CD.
"Party Time Man" by The Futures is a strong Philly Dancer that was, until given royal approval from the Northern Soul fraternity here in the UK, relatively easy and inexpensive to pick up. Look at it now! A fantastic feel-good flare-flapper with vocal comparisons to the latest efforts of The Temptations, which comes as no surprise as Harry McGilberry Jr has been in the line up since "Phoenix Rising"!
The 80s in-demander, "Feel It" by Gift Of Dreams is here in full glory and for that I cannot thank Richard Searling and Ralph Tee enough. Many will be happy with the excellent 70s number from Ruby Andrews as this expensive LP contained but 1 in-demand track and here it is minus the crackles, tatty sleeve and the price tag.
The popular Jean Carne / Nightflyte collaboration of "If You Believe" is included, though I have never been blown away by this version and much prefer the more lively version by Act Of Faith. A track that I was totally unfamiliar with, but AM blown away by is "There’s No Me Without You" by Denise Titchenor; a song that is reminiscent of classic funky plodders from the mid-1980s by artists such as Roberta Gilliam, Mtume and Juicy. Essential!
I, like many, emailed Sony UK in outrage after the unceremonious withdrawal of Ebonye Alleyne’s much-awaited Okeh album. The Lady released two 7" singles now very rare, and this glorious retrofied song was one of the two tracks that were released.
Closing the set is the KILLER dancer from The Chestnut Brothers aka Brotherly Love and "Travellin’ On". This is the best inspirational dancer to have reached my ears for many a year and if "A Whole Lotta You In Me" was a favourite of yours then just buy this. This comes from their "Peace Suite" EP available from CD Baby, although I consider this the best track on it. What a mouth-watering collection of artists and songs all on one convenient CD! Expansion clinches it yet again!
- Barry Towler

Albums of the Month in 2003
Albums of the Month in 2002
Albums of the Month in 2001
Albums of the Month in 2000
Albums of the Month in 1999
Albums of the Month in 1998
Albums of the Month in 1997

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