Philadelphia has given the soul music world some of its greatest performers of the last four decades, and the City of Brotherly Love continues to display its native talent with young singers like Carol Riddick. The native of Philly's South side first came to public notice as a backing singer with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. She used that springboard to become a much sought-after vocalist, working over the past decade with such artists as Anthony Hamilton, Kindred and Jill Scott.
After years supporting others, in 2005 Riddick determined to move to the front and spent the year writing music for her solo debut album. She also teamed up with a number of notable producers for the album, including Carvin Haggins & Ivan Barias (Musiq, Faith Evans), James Poyser (Erykah Badu, The Roots) and Anthony Bell (Jill Scott, Jewel). The result is Moments Like This, independently released in 2006 on Axis Music Group.
Moments has been percolating around in soul circles for most of 2006, getting uniformly strong word-of-mouth, and with good reason. Riddick has a smooth, attractive voice reminiscent of Regina Belle, and her performance on Moments is uniformly stunning. She also proves herself a quality songwriter, with both a consistently strong sense of melody and intelligent lyrical content.
There's more than a touch of 70s Philly Soul on Moments Like This, giving the album an instantly classic feel. So mid-tempo cuts like "Confused" and "I Like the Way It Feels" could have been relevant in 1976 but sound great in 2006. Even stronger are the numerous ballads, the best of which are "A Better Me" and the beautiful title cut. Arguably the album's high point, though, is "Brown-Eyed Girl," an bluesy ode to empowerment that benefits from rich production by Fred Kenney. But any of a half dozen other cuts could be noted, as Moments is uniformly strong in material, production and performance.
Like Lynne Fiddmont's Flow earlier this year, Moments Like This evidences that there is a talented new generation of female adult soul singers ready to accept the torch held twenty years ago by Anita Baker and Phyllis Hyman. It is a marvelous album and a great introduction to a very talented young artist. Highly recommended.
By Chris Rizik