Monday, 9 February 2009

Ben E. King - Let Me Live In Your Life - 1978 - Atlantic

Ben. E. King is a solid, dependable and quality artist, and a great artist. I think that Benn is one of the jewels in our wonderful soulful crown, and he shined his brightest when he came together with the legendary Lamont Dozier for the "Let Me Live In Your Life" album, released in 1978. Most of this LP was essential and sounds as good - if not better - today as it did back then. Four cuts are familiar, having been recorded by the Originals on their essential "California Sunset" album for Motown back in 1975. For my money, the title track is a far superior version than the Originals' original and trips along on a diet of hi-hat, strings and some tasty backing vocals from the Duncan Sisters! If you loved Lamont Dozier's "Peddling Music On The Side" album then you will simply adore this track. Such a superior version I feel.

"Family Jewels", "Sweet Rhapsody" and "Fifty Years" are also covered to great affect and are as equally great as the original cuts from Motown. The strings, courtesy of the Memphis Symphony, sound lovely on these cuts and they are at their sweetest on "Sweet Rhapsody". Beautiful - you cannot beat a string section of this calibre. Cashing in on the TV show of the same name that was popular at the time (and why not? Lynda Carter was lovely!) "Wonder Woman" playfully uses this to it's advantage and is a clever piece of writing to boot. "Fly Away To My Wonderland" is typical of Dozier's output and on songs like this we can hear a proper melody driven song with real foundation and flow. Much of today's music - however good - lacks structure and as such leave you wanting. Dozier, the genius of our time, is able to craft a song perfectly. For lovers of the boogie tune, "Spoiled" will come as a real treat with a really spacey synth and rumbling bassline and spangly guitar. If it's infectious stuff you're after then look no further. Sadly this is not on CD, but if you are like me and like retiring well-played vinyl then head off to iTunes or Amazon where you can download this album! Worth every hard-earned penny.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe