Eddie Levert - Did I Make You Go Ooh (2016)

Eddie Levert
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Eddie Levert – Did I Make You Go Ooh

The year 2016 has been the year of the veteran athlete surviving and often thriving against the odds. David Ortiz, at 40 and with two bad feet, is among the league leaders in batting average, homers and runs batted in. Kobe Bryant messed around and scored 61 in his last game. Peyton Manning did just enough to help a team with an-all-time great defense win a Super Bowl. And what can be said about veteran Olympians Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt?

Eddie Levert – Did I Make You Go Ooh

The year 2016 has been the year of the veteran athlete surviving and often thriving against the odds. David Ortiz, at 40 and with two bad feet, is among the league leaders in batting average, homers and runs batted in. Kobe Bryant messed around and scored 61 in his last game. Peyton Manning did just enough to help a team with an-all-time great defense win a Super Bowl. And what can be said about veteran Olympians Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt?

Music is another occupation where the knowledge earned over a lifetime in stages and studios can allow an artist to overcome losing a little on their vocal fastballs. And while Father Time has an unblemished record, his wins in the music field come through the eternal knockout rather than getting athletes to tap out.  Eddie Levert is still standing, and he coaxed at least one more stellar effort out of that legendary voice on his latest record Did I Make You Go Ooh.

Levert is 73-years-old, and that distinctive thunderous baritone has lost some of its range. He can’t hold the notes that he held on classics such as “Let Me Make Love To You” quite as strong or as long and his throaty and assertive voice is a bit more ragged. However, Levert compensates for those vocal limits in other ways, but mainly with an album of songs that are strong lyrically and that address the family staple of love and romance, with a helping of social commentary and humor added as well.

Ballads often turn into a musical proving ground because that’s where a singer’s vocal limits will be displayed to distraction. Yet, Levert measures up the slow jams on Did I Make You Go Ooh. Part of the reason is that Levert understands that singing also contains an element of performance. His raspy vocal that scratches the upper limits of the range that he regularly burst through provides the level of mournful realization that despite his best efforts a relationship has run its course on the tune “It’s Too Late.”

The title track shows that the veteran crooner can still beg, woo and turn on the seductive charms with the best of them on the percussive and simmering “Never Miss Your Water,” and the piano pop influenced breakup song “I Let Go” places the singer in his vocal comfort zone. The former allows the singer to adopt a conversational style in explaining why we often don’t appreciate a good thing until it’s gone, while the latter showcases Levert’s skill as a musical storyteller on a song about the realization that, in order to be free, he had to rid himself of a dysfunctional relationship.

Levert, throughout his legendary five decade career as a member of the O’Jays, crafted an equally solid reputation as a performer of up-tempo song, and Did I Make You Go Ooh contains a diverse set up such tracks, ranging from the funk/rock fusion of “Bang The Walls” to the reggae of the mid-tempo groove “Heart Don’t Lie,” and “Say It Ain’t So,” a track that hearkens back to the O’Jays and Philadelphia International Records.

Eddie Levert is a survivor both professionally and personally. In recent years, he has suffered the kind of losses that are simply unthinkable. No parent wants to lose a child, and Levert lost two of his sons in a short period. The artist found a refuge in his music. And while the days of topping the charts has likely passed for this soul survivor, Did I Make You Go Ooh shows that Eddie Levert, like a wily veteran pitcher, still knows how to win. Highly Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 
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