Auteria Wally Winzer, Jr. - Sweet Deal: The A’s Sensual Mixes

Auteria Wally Winzer, Jr.
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Auteria Wally Winzer Jr. - Sweet Deal: The A’s Sensual Mixes

Auteria Wally Winzer Jr. has been making magic in the studio since the 1980s as a musician and a producer. Winzer is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist although he mostly works as a  drummer/percussionist.

The Bay area artist is one of those guys who has been a part of the soundtracks of our lives, so we’ve often heard him even if we as listeners didn’t actually know him. One of the earliest performances I heard of Winzer as a studio musician came in 1981 on the title track of soul and disco legend Sylvester’s album Too Hot to Sleep.

Auteria Wally Winzer Jr. - Sweet Deal: The A’s Sensual Mixes

Auteria Wally Winzer Jr. has been making magic in the studio since the 1980s as a musician and a producer. Winzer is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist although he mostly works as a  drummer/percussionist.

The Bay area artist is one of those guys who has been a part of the soundtracks of our lives, so we’ve often heard him even if we as listeners didn’t actually know him. One of the earliest performances I heard of Winzer as a studio musician came in 1981 on the title track of soul and disco legend Sylvester’s album Too Hot to Sleep.

Winzer, a Grammy nominated artist, has worked with some music industry giants, and throughout his career as a producer Winzer has demonstrated a knack for working well with gravelly voiced male artists steeped in blues, gospel and soul. SoulTrackers saw that earlier this when he released “That Thing You Do,” a track produced several years earlier that ended up being Bobby Womack’s final recoding.

So it should come as no surprise that soul man Jesse James delivers a quartet of standout performances on Sweet Deal: The As Sensual Mixes, a project that finds Winzer working with several singers. James proves to a storyteller who can make modern listeners suspend disbelief on the southern soul styled “Operator Put Me Through,” a track that finds the singer imploring the operator to break through the busy signal and put him through to the lover he pines for. Of course, nobody calls the operator these days, and if the line is busy, we send a text,  but James sells it.

James showcases his mastery as a crooner on the R&B ballad “Something to Believe In,” and he dives into 80s era synth funk on the mid-tempo grinder “One and Only Love.”

James is not the only standout vocalist on Sweet Deal, and the ladies have their say as well. Candi Stampley and duet mate Steve Fernandes move from misunderstanding to understanding on the duet “Don’t Judge the Book.”

Sweet Deal is a project with its feet planted firmly in the 1980s, and the tracks reflect the virtues and vices of that era. The album sports those smooth ballads that featured excellent vocal work and a touch of jazz with “Do You Want Me” featuring Pam Neal being an example. The synth funk music of that era combined those one the one bass lines of the 1970s with those keyboard produced percussive beats that seemed to draw folks to the dance floor like magnets, and both Stampley and Neal deliver the goods on club bangers “Tell Me About It” and “Do You Want Me?”

The 1980s is also hip-hop’s first generation, and we’ve so long been in the era where rap is the dominant genre that a lot of fans can’t recall a time when R&B was the establishment and rap the scrappy upstart. Back then, everybody in the industry tried to figure out what to do with this thing called rap. “Dance All Night” shows some of the difficulties that the industry had incorporating rap into R&B, but it is a rare miss on what was an otherwise an enjoyable romp down memory lane.

For those who love both the variety and production values of classic R&B, Sweet Deal is a welcome new addition that brings back a classic canon. Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 
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