STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 13263-2898 LABEL: Proper PRPCD022 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Back in the '60s, when I listened to every deep soul/Southern soul record I could get my hands on, producer Dan Penn (the co-writer/producer of such stone classics as "Dark End Of The Street" and "Do Right Woman Do Right Man") and singer Bobby Purify (half of James & Bobby Purify who offered hits like "I'm Your Puppet") were heroes of mine. So it's a strange experience in 2005 to find myself facing an album that brings together these two great forces of vintage soul music and discover in the process that both producer and singer are now Christians. Not that this is a gospel album. The old, soul themes of lost love and wistful regret conjured up by songwriters Penn, Carson Whitsett and Loy Lindsey are artfully teased out by a great understated soul voice. Arrangement-wise, this is an amazing recreation of old school soul with swirling Hammonds, sassy horns and bluesy guitar interjections all helping create a style of Southern R&B a million miles from the brash sounds of today's urban music. But it's not all explorations of emotional pain and unfaithful women. There's a magnificent gospel ballad here, "Forever Changed", which in its wistful poignancy truly touches the spirit as well as the soul. That gem alone is worth the price of this album.
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