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Traci Mattison Lament

Soul Express CD review

(US Williams Productions CD, 2002)
1) Let's Take a Ride 2) All I Ask 3) Lazy Day 4) As a Matter of Fact 5) Mutual Confidence 6) Your One and Only 7) Lament 8) Love Signs 9) I'll Pour the Wine 10) The Things I Said 11) Broken Promises 12) Quiet Sorrow 13) Right or Wrong

Traci Mattison's CD Lament is already from year 2002, but it's still well worth mentioning, as the album contains some of the most convincing soul tracks I've heard in recent years. The album opens with the splendid mid-tempo floater Let's Take a Ride, which builds its groove over a meaty bass-driven backdrop. After nearly four minutes D.B. Williams joins the groove with his utterly stylish soprano saxophone soloing, and the closing two minutes are sheer ecstasy. Traci herself has a smooth and sensual vocal style compared to Anita Baker, Regina Belle and Betty Wright, and Traci mainly sings moody, jazz-tinged ballads and mellow mid-tempo tunes, but also demonstrates her rougher and throaty side of singing.

Of the ballads, I was first fascinated by As a Matter of Fact, which is a traditional, rootsy soul ballad that would be perfect for Betty Wright, Regina Belle or Maysa, and Traci also sounds utterly soulful while wailing through the emotional lyrics. However, after repeated listening, I've grown to like even much more a track titled Your One and Only, which is a truly unique ballad song with a pulsating real instrumentation further coloured by violin (Linda Senter), flute (Linda Allen) and tenor saxophone (Randy Mather). The melody is very captivating, and when the lyrics starts with "let me explain to you what kind of woman I am", you can expect some real dedicated vocalising by Traci, and she really delivers the most soul-stirring lines I've heard for a while.

Traci's vocalising is also extremely strong on the closing moments of All I Ask, which is a swaying mid-pacer dominated by an effective rhythm guitar riff. Lazy Days is a serene mid-tempo ballad with D.B. Williams again colouring the backing with his soprano sax. The jazziest cut on display is the six-minutes long Broken Promises, which features some wonderful trumpet and bass clarinet soloing over the swaying backdrop.

Track titles like Lament, I'll Pour the Wine and Quiet Sorrow describe the mellow quiet storm feeling of the rest of the album pretty well, and while there are no other real killer cuts like the aforementioned gems, I'd suggest that you go and get this album while you can. The CD copies were already out of stock for a while, but we managed to get some extra copies from the record label. Let's hope that Traci gets a chance to record a follow-up to this album soon - she is really a diamond in the rough.
-Ismo Tenkanen
Soul Express

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