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Victor Haynes: From the Bottom of My Heart

Reviewed by Ismo Tenkanen

Rating: 8/ 10

Soul Express CD of the Month - August - September 2012

UK Expansion CD, 2012
Buy this album from our CD Shop

1) From The Bottom of My Heart 2) Give You My Love 3) Less Than A Minute 4) I'm Out Of Your Life 5) Steppin' Out 6) Remembering The Good Times (Remix) 7) How Am I 8) Can't Believe 9) Fallin' 10) You Won't Make Me Cry 11) Music And Love 12) Can't Stop 13) I've Got To Know (Bonus Track) 14) If You Want Me (Bonus Track)

"Brand new quality soul album" may sound almost an oxymoron these days, but this CD really fulfills this description. Victor Haynes is a UK soul singer who has been recording quite infreqently (his previous CD Optimistic is from 1994!), but Expansion compilations have included a track from him every now and then. A track titled 2nd Opinion was featured in our Quality Time Cream Cuts in spring 2010, and it was picked from Expansion collection Soul Togetherness 2009, whereas the more recent compilation Expansion Soul Sauce 25 Anniversary Edition contained From the Bottom of My Heart, which is now also the title of the brand new CD.

What makes this really an exceptionally strong modern soul album is that the artist shines not only on ballads but the album boasts several very strong uptempo soul tunes as well. At places, I have a feeling this is an album we would have wished from Luther Vandross, if he was still alive, but the truth is that Luther did NOT record an album as strong as this after the 80s. Surely Victor is not as brilliant soul vocalist as Luther was, but this album is a great combination of quality soul ballads and uptempo tunes nevertheless.

The music is not retro soul, but very contemporary black music set with both programmed and real instruments. The most classic soul backgrounds can be heard on the acoustic piano and sax coloured ballad Can't Believe, but the most delicious instrumentation is featured on the gorgeous-in-the-extreme jazz-inclined mid-stepper Music and Love, which is a strong candidate for the track of the year in my books!

Some of the tracks included in this album have been available as downloadable tracks before - Victor himself mentions even an album Remembering the Good Time on Expansion from 2009, but I guess it was never available on any other format than a download. The 15 tracks that were listed on that album are not featured on this new set, except a Remix version of the summery title song Remembering the Good Time.

Probably the most demanded cuts on the new album are the excellent uptempo tunes; the sax-drenched Fallin' has much the same appeal as Keni Burke's recent, ultra-catchy single Orange U Ready, and the title track From The Bottom of My Heart is a superb feel-good tune built on a bouncy bass synth groove. Surely a floor-filler on any future soul weekender!

So many good tracks on this album that I could go on and on, but you already got the point: go and get this album as soon as possible!
- Ismo Tenkanen
Soul Express

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