Various Artists - Indie Soul United: I Remember When

Various Artists
Various Artists Indie Soul United I remember when.jpg
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Listening to I Remember When, the latest Indie Soul United compilation CD put together by Craig A. Eleazer, reminds me of the opening scene from the movie Love Jones. That scene ends with Nia Long’s character, Nina, confronting Larenz Tate’s character, Darius outside of a poetry club and writing the word “love” in the palm of his hand. Tate’s character read a poem – dedicated to and named after Long’s character – that was sensual, and Nina, wondered if Darius possessed the ability to conceive love in a more mature and three-dimensional manner.

Listening to I Remember When, the latest Indie Soul United compilation CD put together by Craig A. Eleazer, reminds me of the opening scene from the movie Love Jones. That scene ends with Nia Long’s character, Nina, confronting Larenz Tate’s character, Darius outside of a poetry club and writing the word “love” in the palm of his hand. Tate’s character read a poem – dedicated to and named after Long’s character – that was sensual, and Nina, wondered if Darius possessed the ability to conceive love in a more mature and three-dimensional manner.

I Remember When is the Indie Soul United writing “love” on the collective palm of their fellow artists, as well as the music listening public. Every track on this record beseeches those listening to consider the more mature and substantive manifestations of that many splendored thing called love. That request can even be found in dance tracks that have nothing to do with romantic love such as “London,” Ashanti Munir’s funky dance tune that is a love song to the city and its nightlife. “London” may not be a ‘relationship’ song in the typical sense of the word, but we are all from somewhere, and we develop a connection with the place where we go about our business. A place such as London with its vibrant cultural life serves as the backdrop for professional and personal connections with make with other people.

The title track addresses the relationship that we have with music. The soulful number, which is also performed by Munir, can be described as ballad of lost love. The cut encapsulates many of the complaints that SoulTrackers and other music fans have lodged about popular music of today – the vulgar and superficial lyrics and the fact that the music often sounds so artificial.

The Indie Soul United artists lay down the marker with I Remember When. These performers want to make an organic record that celebrates love, integrity and depth of emotion, and they spend the remainder of the album deliver on that promise. These tunes and the vocalists who sing them celebrate those who search for character, display loyalty and are rewarded by a life long love.

“A Diamond in the Sun” find’s Chidi vocalizing the kind of questions that those relationship experts recommend that people ask when they realize that things are getting serious, but rarely if ever get asked: “Will you love me/even though we fight/ does it matter who’s wrong or right/do you trust me/I’ll let you lead the way/Will you try to/get to know my mind/Will you be there/will you stay around/to love me/I pray that you will stay.

“Not Gonna Run Away” refutes the oft stated stereotype that love songs express escapist fantasy. Nichelle Mungo’s soothing vocals serve as the perfect vehicle for a cut dealing with a wife reassuring a husband who just lost his job. The sentiments in the song’s lyrics have been expressed in millions of households on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the jazzy ballad “My Angel,” Leon Beal, Jr. and Chidi celebrate those couples who manage to construct a life built upon commitment. The two sing from the standpoint of a husband a wife looking back with on their lives, acknowledging that there is nobody else they’d want accompanying them on this life long journey.

In its endless quest to label things, the industry will classify I Remember When as an adult record. Grown and sexy is the test-marketed street term. That will be enough to prevent the record from getting a proper airing in the youth-centric American market. But as Chris informed us earlier a few days ago, a lot of music fans aren’t buying what the labels are selling. Like the mythical Nina Mosely, these listeners want something with a little more depth. The temptation will be to pull out those old CDs. With I Remember When, Indie Soul United informs us that there is another option worth exploring. Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 

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