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Soul Express CD Review

Waldo: Love Don’t Grow On Trees CD
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Love Don’t Grow On Trees

US Funky Town Grooves CD, 2011
The original release on US Columbia 1982

Looks Can Be Deceiving / You Bring Out The Freak In Me / Love Don’t Grow On Trees / You Get What You Pay For / When It Comes To You / You Better Play Your Cards Right / Love I Feel Inside / Spend The Night

Waldo’s “Love Don’t Grow On Trees” is a set that I had hitherto not heard. Released in 1982 on Columbia and produced by Willie Lester and the legendary Larkin Arnold, this primarily funky set is one that is well deserving of a reissue on CD. The uptempo freaky funk of “Looks Can Be Deceiving” and “You Bring Out The Freak In Me” were perfectly suited for the time – a little past it’s sell by date for my particular taste – but it’s on the ballads and midtempo efforts that I really feel at home. The title track really does slip into that classy Main Ingredient-type early 80s style and the brassy, summery vibe really is strong.

The harmonies are also very reminiscent of the Chestnut Brothers / Brotherly Love and this really is a great selling point of this set. Listen to recent tracks from their latest sets such as “Travellin’ On” and so on and you get the region of Waldo’s vocal stylings. Lovely!

The early 80s funk of The Dazz Band / Con Funk Shun / Switch rushes through with brassy gusto on “When It Comes To You”, and an excellent track soon follows suit (every pun intended!) with “You Better Play Your Cards Right” which contains some very nimble guitar work and the funkiest of basslines. Songs like this are seriously welcome on CD – and albums like this are screaming for release, especially with great summertime vibes such as “Love I Feel Inside” – the undercurrent melody reminds me of what Heatwave were doing at the time, and this is a great think to bestow upon any ear with a soulful leaning. Vocal harmonies, yet again, are superb and really get you ‘there’ – you know where ‘there is’’s right in the centre of your chest.

The amazing mix of real instruments, melodies and arrangements make this a special brew of soul and funk and whether you like it soulful, funky or plain upbeat and happy such as in “Spend The Night”, then you have a tip-top set at your disposal. Can’t really grumble about that can we?!

-Barry Towler

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