Album of the
Soul Express Album Review
(US Retro Soul Recordings, 2007)
1) Freestyle Pt I (Introlude)
2) I Think Of U
3) Do U Remember
4) Back 'N The Day
5) Give It A Little Time
6) Any Ol' Day
7) Freestyle Pt II (Interlude)
8) Why Can't We?
9) Heavenly Val (Interlude)
11) C'mon Over
12) Almost Famous
13) Because Of You
14) I Thank U15 Why Can't We? (Retro Mix)
I think that this Lady is going to improve with time. It is hard for a new artist to break
into the public arena nowadays. They either fall prey to the charnel house of the majors
or they get trapped in the niche markets and never receive the wider recognition they
deserve. Phyllis Hyman instantly springs to mind. Valarie Adams is such a newcomer.
Not wet behind the ears or with the smell of baby food on her breath, but more worldly
wise and savvy with more than a dash of sass.
Valerie proves beyond all doubt that she is a talent. I am impressed by her skill and confidence
on a number of songs, and I know that these songs will appeal to readers of these pages.
Some of the album doesn't reach me in the same way, but as I said earlier applies.
Valerie is doing a good job of appealing to a wider audience.
For these ears, “I Think Of U” is a really splendid track. The sound is very much of today's
better quality output, but has that retro edge – dare I say it – within the funky bass and
guitar work. This sort of track would appeal to the UK market as well as more adult-orientated
US radio networks. Similarly, “Do You Remember” will also fare well. The eerie synth and
slightly loping beat echo perfectly against Valarie's sassy, sexy delivery. This sort of
material piddles over 99% of what we laughingly call R&B today. From the quality of these
tracks alone I cannot recommend this Lady enough.
“Back 'N The Day” is a phrase I detest but is, I fear so commonplace in parlance that I
suppose it has to become a part of the soul world too. Valarie's take is jazzy, funky and
has her doing a nice scatty style in the form of Ledisi. Very nice it is too! I hear echoes
of Ledisi again, Miki Howard, and even Jill Scott on the bubbling
“Give It A Little Time”. This is aided and abetted by some tasty backing vocals by The Saints.
Her version of “Angel” is sympathetic to the original yet cannot, of course, better it.
It does show us where this Lady is coming from and gives enough indication of where she
could go to should she want to. The sexiness of “Come Over” is aimed at couples who are
in need of quality time. Those of you with children and / or a heavy schedule will
definitely connect with this gem.
The album is a definite grower, and has wide appeal. I will watch this Lady for future
developments. I can see a great future should she decide to take a jazzier path,
but can understand the constraints of breaking into the market place. This album
should have a few ears pricked, and this should not be overlooked.
- Barry Towler
of the Month in 2007
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