Will Hammond, Jr. - To Be Continued (2008)

Will Hammond, Jr.
Soul_Folk_To_Be_Continued_Album.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

When it comes to music, I'm a less is more type of guy. That's probably a function of growing up in the 1970s at the height of the LP era. Vinyl long play records contained 10 or 11 songs. That's about all a long play vinyl record could hold. Truth be told, 10 songs averaging between four and five minutes pushed up the limits of the attention spans of most music fans. Besides, most artists struggle to crank out four or five decent songs, which made the classics such as Marvin Gaye's What's Going On or Michael Jackson's Thriller all the more special. It was an event when artists such as Stevie Wonder or Prince dropped double-albums such as Songs in the Key of Life or 1999. Both artists had to create music that justified the extra cost consumers purchasing it would have to plank down.

When it comes to music, I'm a less is more type of guy. That's probably a function of growing up in the 1970s at the height of the LP era. Vinyl long play records contained 10 or 11 songs. That's about all a long play vinyl record could hold. Truth be told, 10 songs averaging between four and five minutes pushed up the limits of the attention spans of most music fans. Besides, most artists struggle to crank out four or five decent songs, which made the classics such as Marvin Gaye's What's Going On or Michael Jackson's Thriller all the more special. It was an event when artists such as Stevie Wonder or Prince dropped double-albums such as Songs in the Key of Life or 1999. Both artists had to create music that justified the extra cost consumers purchasing it would have to plank down.

Compact discs hold twice as much music as a vinyl LP, and big box stores such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy charge twice as much for them. That might explain why most artists feel the need to stuff 70 minutes worth of music onto those small discs. Maybe artists and music companies believe fans will feel better about planking down $17 if they get 15 or 20 songs. The problem is most music fans don't want to listen to 20 songs, especially since most artists still make four or five good ones.

That's why alarm bells went off when I flipped over To Be Continued by Soul Folk featuring Will Hammond, Jr. and saw that the CD contained 17 tracks. I put the CD in fearing that it would be the musical equivalent of interstate driving - miles of nothing interrupted by the occasional tourist attraction, leaving the listener to exclaim "are we there yet?" Boy, was I wrong! A measure of how good an album To Be Continued is that Will could have made two records out of the first and second halves of the album, and they'd both be excellent.

One thing that makes To Be Continued a work that has a very good chance of holding the listener's interest is the album's pace. To Be Continued doesn't overwhelm the listener with track after track of up-tempo songs, nor does the record fall into a mid-tempo groove that all to easily becomes a rut. A mid-tempo groove such as "Sunday in the Park" is followed by the frenetically, pulsing techno inspired jam "Beautiful." The listener falls into a mournful mood while listening to "Jaded," a slow, acoustic jazzy ballad, only to be aroused by the whirring violins in the song "Venus Returns."

The sparse acoustic guitar that complements Hammond's tenor on "1979" gets followed up by the ultra-funky neo-soul and hip-hop fusion of "When It Rains," one of many high points on To Be Continued. The breezy "Your Love" and a lovely version of Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady" follow that song.

To Be Continued by Soul Folk featuring Will Hammond, Jr. draws on jazz, hip-hop, techno, folk to create 17 compelling tracks that surprise and hold the listener's interest. Highly recommended.

by Howard Dukes

 
Song of the Month - Kea Michaels - "Not My Friend"
Featured Album - Nichelle Colvin - Welcome to Gary
Featured Album - Rahsaan Patterson - Heroes & Gods

Leave a comment!