One Way featuring Al Hudson - #new Old School (2019)

One Way featuring Al Hudson
alhudsononeway.jpg

One Way Featuring Al Hudson – #new Old School

There were self-contained bands that had more crossover success than Al Hudson & One Way. However, as a band that created music that could be served with burgers and franks at the family cookout, could fill the floor at the club, or could bring couples close when the lights dimmed, this Detroit based band stood tall alongside their funky peers in the 1970s and 80s.

One Way Featuring Al Hudson – #new Old School

There were self-contained bands that had more crossover success than Al Hudson & One Way. However, as a band that created music that could be served with burgers and franks at the family cookout, could fill the floor at the club, or could bring couples close when the lights dimmed, this Detroit based band stood tall alongside their funky peers in the 1970s and 80s.

The band was famous for its many name changes, as it went from Al Hudson & the Soul Partners, to Al Hudson and the Partners, to One Way Featuring Al Hudson, to ultimately One Way. Whichever band name graced the album cover -- One Way Featuring Al Hudson on the marquee for their new record #new Old School – fans knew they would be treated to some bouncy and danceable Detroit funk and ballad work that covered the range of emotions from falling into the deepest of love to imploring a lover to forget about the past.

The band sticks to the formula that brought it success on #new Old School. Although #new Old School contains up-tempo records, this album will be known for its ballads – both in terms of quantity and quality. Most of the tracks on #new Old School are ballads or mid-tempo love songs and they make up the majority of the projects best and most memorable cuts.

“Let’s Dance,” the album’s opening cut, is the best of up-tempo numbers and the track that best captures how One Way’s music drew people onto the dance floor. “Let’s Dance” is a marathon, sweat inducer that features a bumping bass line that serves as the foundation for tempo changes, elements of jazz, give and take between a male and female vocalist and a memorable hook. The track occupies a similar feel good musical space as the band’s 1979 hit “You Can Do It.”

Stlll, #new Old School gets its identity when the music shifts to a slower pace and the topic turns to the many faces of love, such as on the mid-tempo, southern soul infused funk of “Don’t Know What Cha Missin’,” a song where a man tells his ex that she will most definitely miss the water when her new well runs dry.

The band seems to love diving into the drama that transpires when love goes wrong. Of course, that has long been present in the band’s music, and they bring it out on cuts such as “Now What,” which is a solid foray into a more contemporary musical arrangements and vocal delivery. The song tells a story about tensions that come about when outsiders involve themselves in a relationship.

But that’s not to say that the record is devoid of romantic tunes, with “Hold On To You” being not only the best of that bunch, but one of my favorites on the album.

With #new Old School, One Way Featuring Al Hudson conducts a master class in making and singing the slow jam. Although some new school singers have found success in ballad singing, love songs may be associated with the era that introduced us to Hudson’s band. #new Old School shows that for One Way Featuring Al Hudson, making a slow jam is like riding a bike or engaging in the art of romance – once you learn how to do it, you never forget. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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