STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 11769-10550 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
American Gregg undertook a ministry visit to the UK last year which took place unpublicised and unannounced. This Louisiana-born blue-eyed soul man has by all accounts a powerful ministry while this album shows him to possess a grittily expressive voice every bit as good as many soul stars you could name. So if you like singers with the chops to wring soul out of every syllable, note the name Gregg Martinez. But before you get your credit card out in preparation to make a website purchase, I feel duty bound to point out this album's major weakness. First off, it's mainly pitched at "secular" audiences with only two or three God songs in the 12 (of which the best is Al Green's "The Lord Will Make A Way"). Now of course there's nothing wrong with that. But when you have an album largely consisting of covers, and many of those songs which in years past have already enjoyed classic interpretations (Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long", Teddy Pendergrass' "Wake Up Everybody", Sam & Dave's "Hold On, I'm Comin'") one is left with an album that veers dangerously close to karaoke - even if it's brilliantly executed karaoke. Gregg has assembled a fine band for all those retro soul sounds and his vocals are never less than soulful, but one longs for Gregg to get his teeth into original material. When listening to Gregg's ruggedly emotive voice on the closer "That Lucky Old Sun" I started playing Fantasy Record Company Exec. In it I dreamed of commissioning a team of good Southern soul songwriters to pen Gregg brand new gospel songs and then taking him to Muscle Shoals or somewhere to record a classic album. In the meantime, you may want to investigate why I think this talented chap would be worth such efforts.
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