The Drizabone Soul Family - All The Way

The Drizabone Soul Family
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It's hard to believe that nearly a generation has passed since the late 1980s and early 1990s. That means that in the "what's old is new again" world that is popular music, listeners will be treated (or consigned) to music made in or influenced by that era. This will be something of a treat for people who liked the progressive soul and R&B sounds emanating from across the pond during those years. The music of bands like Loose Ends, Soul II Soul and Incognito found a willing audience in the states during that time.

Fans of these groups enjoyed the way they paid reverence to the American sounds of blues, jazz and soul by putting a right now spin on their original songs. People also dug the energy bands like Incognito pumped into old soul classics like Stevie's "Don't You Worry ‘Bout a Thing." Many people believe that the British progressive soul sound of that era was a precursor for the so-called neo-soul movement that hit America starting in the late 1990s.

It's hard to believe that nearly a generation has passed since the late 1980s and early 1990s. That means that in the "what's old is new again" world that is popular music, listeners will be treated (or consigned) to music made in or influenced by that era. This will be something of a treat for people who liked the progressive soul and R&B sounds emanating from across the pond during those years. The music of bands like Loose Ends, Soul II Soul and Incognito found a willing audience in the states during that time.

Fans of these groups enjoyed the way they paid reverence to the American sounds of blues, jazz and soul by putting a right now spin on their original songs. People also dug the energy bands like Incognito pumped into old soul classics like Stevie's "Don't You Worry ‘Bout a Thing." Many people believe that the British progressive soul sound of that era was a precursor for the so-called neo-soul movement that hit America starting in the late 1990s.

The Drizabone Soul Family ably captures the progressive soul sound on their new recording, All The Way. It's unlikely that music fans in the United States are familiar with The Drizabone Soul Family. However, this group - most notably the leader Billy Freeman - was on the scene during the height of that era. The act's lineup changed over the years, and even Freeman left for a while. Historically, the group has had the same kind of rotating lineup featured in groups like Incognito, and Freeman uses that strategy on All The Way. Five different singers lead songs on the album.

All The Way flows well. Up tempo dance tracks such as "Never Gonna Stop The Groove" precede a song with a Motown feel like "I Fell Apart." The inspirational song "Girlfriendz," which is the weakest song on this very good album, is followed by  another throwback, the funky "Love Me Like A Lover Should."

All The Way features two excellent ballads in the duet "Lovin' U" and the title track. Other top notch tracks include "No More Sorrow," "Hit That Spot," and the Stax influenced track "Don't Break My Heart." This song with its drum licks, Hammond B 3 organ, blaring horns and torch song lyrics delivered excellently by Freeman both shimmers and simmers.

The 1990s was for the most part a fun decade. As it recedes into memory and the present remains troublesome, many people will want to reach back to recall a lighter time. All The Way is an eloquent musical statement from that era. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 

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