Various Artists - Soul Over the Race, Vol. 1

Various Artists
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Japanese-based Sweet Soul Records is on a mission to reintroduce the essence of classic soul and R&B for a worldwide audience, performed by fresh homegrown talent.  Soul Over the Race Vol. 1 meshes seventies and eighties hits (familiar and obscure) with a few soft jazz twists.  Frankly, it can often be excruciating hearing cover versions of back-in-the-day urban standards.  With S.O.T.R. however, the results are surprisingly pleasing.

The vocal star of Soul Over the Race Vol. 1 is SAK, whose dominating soulful presence breezes through the Anita Baker smooth jazz smash, "Caught Up in the Rapture" and R&B/dance diva Jocelyn Brown's biggest hit, "Somebody Else's Guy."  Hiroshi Yoshida's pours his sweet tenor all over "Georgy Porgy," a vast improvement over the original version by Toto.  The Five Stairsteps' signature hit, "O-o-h Child," by Aloha Ichimura is transformed into a stylish contemporary jazz makeover.

Japanese-based Sweet Soul Records is on a mission to reintroduce the essence of classic soul and R&B for a worldwide audience, performed by fresh homegrown talent.  Soul Over the Race Vol. 1 meshes seventies and eighties hits (familiar and obscure) with a few soft jazz twists.  Frankly, it can often be excruciating hearing cover versions of back-in-the-day urban standards.  With S.O.T.R. however, the results are surprisingly pleasing.

The vocal star of Soul Over the Race Vol. 1 is SAK, whose dominating soulful presence breezes through the Anita Baker smooth jazz smash, "Caught Up in the Rapture" and R&B/dance diva Jocelyn Brown's biggest hit, "Somebody Else's Guy."  Hiroshi Yoshida's pours his sweet tenor all over "Georgy Porgy," a vast improvement over the original version by Toto.  The Five Stairsteps' signature hit, "O-o-h Child," by Aloha Ichimura is transformed into a stylish contemporary jazz makeover.

Despite the shortcomings on "Until You Come Back to Me" (Aretha Franklin) and "I Just Wanna' Stop" (Gino Vannelli), Soul Over the Race Vol. 1 does a credible job in bringing sweet soul music right back where it belongs.

Vocals:  3.0 stars
Lyrics:  3.5 stars
Music:  3.0 stars
Production:  3.5 stars
SoulTracks Call:  Recommended

By Peggy Oliver

 

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