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Genre: RnB / Soul /Jazz / Gospel / Neo Soul / Urban
VARIOUS ARTISTS – Soul Japan Presents Family Snapshots Vol. 1 (JAP Soul Japan)
Salu – R.C. / Positivity – THE DCX / It’s Time For Love – HOWARD JOHNSON / I Think About You – REGIS BRANSON / Spend The Night – PORTRAIT / Caught Up – KED / Let’s Just Give It Some Time – KHRIS KELLOW / I Just Wanna Satisfy – THE DCX / Girl I Need Your Love – KHRIS KELLOW / Take Away The Pain – HOWARD JOHNSON / Right Here Right Now – KED / My Lady – ED JOHNSON / I’m Sorry – REGIS BRANSON / All Or Nothing – R.C.
From the label that brought us the AWESOME Johnson & Branson set and the Joye B. Moore album comes this tasty sampler of quality modern soul and contemporary R&B grooves. Soul Japan is a label to definitely keep an eye on as they have the best interests of our music at heart and have thus far more than delivered the goods with just three releases.
The first three tracks are more for younger ears, but after repeated plays these do warm on the ears, especially Howard
Johnson’s “It’s Time For Love” which is a stripped down, minimalist modern R&B groove but with more depth and immeasurably better vocals than his younger rivals. Howard sounds just great and proves yet again what a great talent he is. The man who gave us “Keeping Love New” is keeping his appeal new and I look forward to his forthcoming CD later this year.
Another album I EAGERLY await is that from Regis Branson. Here is another man who cannot do much wrong in my book: a fine writer, composer and a GREAT singer. He has two songs here and both are ESSENTIAL. “I Think About You” is a mid-tempo groove not dissimilar from his material with label mate Howard from early last year. Unmissable soul for 2004.
A group that delivered us some great soul in the 1990s is Portrait, and they have a song featured here. I am not sure which two members are left here as the liner notes do not say, but this tune is good, but I can do without the turntable scratching myself. Let’s wait for the album as I am sure there will be gems contained thereon. Ked is a new name to me, but this song is great, and one to be turned up in the car, even though it sounds too much like Michael Jackson’s bass line on “I Can’t Help It” for its own good. Great stuff nonetheless, and a fresh new name.
There is a chap here called Khris Kellow who is a name from the past. Khris was part of Randy & The Gypsys who delivered us the excellent ballad “The Love We Almost Had” on their 1989 A&M album. Here he is, back in 2004 offering two blinding songs rooted in the early 1980s soul tradition; a quality independent twist and a song that will win a lot of hearts.
If you want to know which song is the KILLER then prey hit button 8 on your remote…youngster The DCX drops some SERIOUS quality soul and then some for “I Just Wanna Satisfy”…opening in a George Howard sax groove, this song has everything I love about our music: it is sensual, memorable and an instant winner. The choral hook is spot on and this is a song that my wife immediately picked up on – and just proves what commendable taste she has too! Just gorgeous and worth paying the full price for alone. QUALITY.
More quality next from Khris Kellow with another firing ballad that exemplifies his super-soulful vocal talents. I cannot wait for an album from this gentleman. What a year 2004 should turn out to be! Ed Johnson is yet another rookie who must be watched out for. This tune comes straight from the Rahsaan Patterson / Glenn Lewis mould and is a smashing contemporary inclusion.
How about another KILLER? Check out the Latinesque “I’m Sorry” by Regis Branson; a gentle bossa nova beat with ultra- soulful sentiments. What an awesome talent this gentleman is. Please, Please Soul Japan – more from these artists and very soon! Another essential CD for 2004