Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It (2008)

Raphael Saadiq
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I would be hard pressed to name a record that has affected me so immediately and strongly as the latest solo offering from former Tony!Toni!Tone!/Lucy Pearl man Raphael Saadiq.  Given the Bay Area's musical pedigree it should come as no surprise but, honestly, Saadiq has delivered possibly the most authentic recreation of the traditional soul sound of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s with his Columbia debut, The Way I See It.  Echoing the time-honored traditions of recordings made at Motown, Invictus, Brunswick and the like, Saadiq's album (best enjoyed in its entirety as a solid piece of work) could easily have been recorded in Detroit at the old Golden World studios or at Curtom in Chicago circa 1971-72. 

I would be hard pressed to name a record that has affected me so immediately and strongly as the latest solo offering from former Tony!Toni!Tone!/Lucy Pearl man Raphael Saadiq.  Given the Bay Area's musical pedigree it should come as no surprise but, honestly, Saadiq has delivered possibly the most authentic recreation of the traditional soul sound of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s with his Columbia debut, The Way I See It.  Echoing the time-honored traditions of recordings made at Motown, Invictus, Brunswick and the like, Saadiq's album (best enjoyed in its entirety as a solid piece of work) could easily have been recorded in Detroit at the old Golden World studios or at Curtom in Chicago circa 1971-72. 

Using real instrumentation, Saadiq has faithfully captured the sound and feel of a bygone era with tracks like "Sure Hope You Mean It," "Keep Marching" (which if it had been released as a ‘white label' 45 might have fooled more than a few UK Northern soul fans who might have sworn it was from 1966!) and "Oh Girl," not the Chi-Lites classic but a new composition that conjures up images of Philly soul harmony groups (think Delfonics, Stylistics, Blue Magic). 

The album's first single, the hypnotic "Love That Girl," is a standout while "Just One Kiss" (featuring UK soulstress Joss Stone who Saadiq worked with on her last album) has a highly memorable hook. The multi-faceted music man (whose credits include work with D'Angelo, The Roots and Keyshia Cole among others) shines on "Callin'" with Spanish language lines, a nod to the love and passion that segments of the Latino population express for old school grooves.  Indeed with cuts like the Motown-flavored "Staying In Love" and "Let's Take A Walk," Raphael Saadiq has authentically given us a contemporary slant on traditional R&B that in my book - as a longtime soul music man - is unparalleled.  My favorite album of 2008 thus far!    

David Nathan
http://www.soulmusic,com/

 
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