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Will Downing: Silver

Reviewed by Ismo Tenkanen

Rating: 8/ 10

Soul Express CD of the Month - January - February 2013

US CD, 2013
Buy this album from our CD Shop

1) Stuff That I Like 3:54 2) One Step Closer 4:23 3) Falling 3:58 4) Send for Me 4:49 5) The Blessing 4:03 6) What Would You Do? 3:48 7) Sexy 4:13 8) You Were Meant Just for Me 4:24 9) Never Find Another Love 4:46 10) Ooh Baby Baby 5:11 11) Only One 5:16 12) I Go Crazy / Wishing On a Star / I Try 10:19

Will Downing released three mini-albums on his own label in 2011-2012, and this 12-track albums compiles seven tracks from these mini-albums, plus five new cuts, one of which is a 10-minute live performance I Go Crazy / Wishing On a Star / I Try.

From his mini-CD trilogy, I personally preferred the first one Yesterday, and from that album Will has picked two tracks, first the timeless Sam Dees-Ron Kersey song Send for Me (recorded earlier by Atlantic Starr and Gerald Alston). Will's own reading is exactly as smooth and classy as you'd expect, although the arrangement is a pretty simple guitar (Randy Bowland) - keyboard (Rex Rideout) coloured backdrop. The other oldie pick is the Miracles song Ooh Baby Baby, which is set in an acousting musical backdrop including real drums and an uncredited saxophone solo. On the other hand, those who wish to hear Will perform the Angela Bofill / Gwen Guthrie song This Time I'll Be Sweeter or Thom Bell's sweet soul classic La La Means I Love You have to go and buy the Yesterday mini-album, as these were not chosen on this Silver set.

By far the best cut on Will's next two mini-albums was a track titled Only One, which is picked from the third part of the trilogy, Tomorrow. Only One is an ultra-stylish Downing-Rex Rideout-Gary Taylor-composition, a real gem of a song in a trumpet (Freddie Hendrix)-flavoured jazzy soul setting.

Of the new tracks Stuff Like That is not the old Quincy Jones / Ashford & Simpson hit but a new catchy mid-pacer that might have a been a top 20 hit back in the 80s or 90s. The arrangements are quite sparse on most of the new tracks, but the album closes with a live session including real musicians, and Will interprets his old masterpieces in a typically stylish manner.

As a whole, certainly an album worth purhcasing for Will's longtime fans, and containing a couple of gems that rate among his best ever performances.
- Ismo Tenkanen
Soul Express

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