Jean Carne and The Blue Notes shine on Ashford & Simpson classic

(August 7, 2021) Taking on a soul classic as incomparable and beloved as Ashford & Simpson’s “Is It Still Good to Ya” is a mammoth task. When the parties involved in bringing it back to life, however, are of the ilk of Jean Carne and The Bluenotes, the endeavor is more manageable. In a marketplace where original material by veteran soul artists struggles to stand out amongst a flood of youth-driven R&B and sophisticated neo-soul, the pursuit of preserving the legacy of the gems of yesteryear—with compelling song structure, effortlessly flowing melodies, and spine-tingling lyrics—is an honorable one.

(August 7, 2021) Taking on a soul classic as incomparable and beloved as Ashford & Simpson’s “Is It Still Good to Ya” is a mammoth task. When the parties involved in bringing it back to life, however, are of the ilk of Jean Carne and The Bluenotes, the endeavor is more manageable. In a marketplace where original material by veteran soul artists struggles to stand out amongst a flood of youth-driven R&B and sophisticated neo-soul, the pursuit of preserving the legacy of the gems of yesteryear—with compelling song structure, effortlessly flowing melodies, and spine-tingling lyrics—is an honorable one.

Carne’s pipes have aged ever so gracefully over the last few decades, and she is in fine form on the verses of a new recording of “Is It Still Good to Ya,” joined by “Sugarbear” Aikens, lead singer of the newest incarnation of Harold Melvin’s Bluenotes. Producer Butch Ingram, who helmed many notable recordings in the 1980s for Barbara Mason, Ronnie Dyson, and Blue Magic, keeps the musical backdrop simple and faithful, allowing the duo’s dynamics to shine through. While the magic of live instrumentation is missing, the cover is a nice introduction to a timeless tune that should be in the collection of any ‘70s soul enthusiast. Sugarbear’s chorus vamping might not quite match those of Teddy Pendergrass on his stirring 1980 rendition of the song; but then, who could manage such a feat?

Take a First Listen to Jean Carne with The Legendary Bluenotes putting their spin on “Is It Still Good to Ya,” and let us know how it moves you.

by Justin Kantor

The Legendary Blue Notes feat. Jean Carne
"Is it Still Good To Ya"

 

Leave a comment!