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Will Downing: Soul Survivor

Reviewed by Heikki Suosalo

Rating: 8/ 10

Soul Express CD of the Season - Autumn 2017

US Shanachie CD, 2017
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1) Soul Survivor Theme
2) I Just Wanna Say Thank You
3) I'm Feeling the Love f. Avery Sunshine
4) Since You Been Gone
5) Stop to Start f. Phil Perry
6) Everything I Want in My Lady f. Maysa
7) Our Time
8) Hurry up This Way Again f. Najee
9) When We Make Love
10) Tell Me about It

  “The Prince of Sophisticated Soul” promotes his latest CD called Soul Survivor ( 5842) as his 20th album in thirty years, which is a good cause for celebration.  Produced and for the most part written by Will, on this ten-track CD his main partners this time are Randy Bowland (musician, co-producer and co-writer), Pablo Batista (co-producer, percussion) and Mike Logan on various instruments.  Among background vocalists you can discover Will’s wife, Audrey Wheeler Downing, and James “D-Train” Williams.

  Of the three outside tunes, two draw from the Philly catalogue.  Phil Perry shares the lead on Stop to Start and he brings a strong Blue Magic element into the cover of this small 1973 hit.  In 1980 The Stylistics released Hurry up This Way Again, and on Will’s version Najee contributes on sax and flutes.  There’s a Caribbean feel to the intimate Tell Me about It, which was first recorded in 1983 by its writer, Michael Franks.

  Will expresses his gratitude on the positive I Just Wanna Say Thank You, which actually is the only uptempo song on the set... but with a sharp beat, nevertheless.  On two mid-tempo songs Will has a featured vocalist with him.  On the first single, a soulful duet of I’m Feeling the Love there’s Avery*Sunshine, and Maysa is the co-vocalist on a smooth serenade titled Everything I Want In My Lady. The most romantic and sensual ballads on the CD are Our Time and When We Make LoveSoul Survivor is another elegant album from Mr. Downing and meets his customary high standards (

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