Tuesday, 17 February 2009

J.R. Bailey - Just Me N You - 1974 - Mam

This was a very out-of-place release on Gilbert O'Sullivan's MAM label, but I've always had a soft spot for Gilbert's 70s tunes so hold nothing against him at all for not releasing more material like this! I originally reviewed this CD when it was re-released in Japan back in the mid-1990s through Tratattoria, when I used to write for my dear, late, friend Gerry Osborne. The Japanese CD was lifted from vinyl, however good, but in 2005 Soul Brother released it here in the UK and from what I can tell with my keen ear this time it was NOT from vinyl. The quality is clean, it is crisp and exactly what we are looking for. Many will know this album and indeed love it. I have to rate it as being one of the classic soul albums of all-time. It is a strong release, fluid in every way and the tender, smooth and soulful tunes all perfectly gel together in a real amorphous mulch of soul heaven.

Similar in style if not content to the classic "What’s Going On" album, J R Bailey dedicates this epic recording to love and romance. The arrangements are spot on and are given an extra level with the emotive use of strings and horns all in the right places. Bailey himself commands his vocals masterfully on all cuts. OK, some of the lyrics are plain cheesy but that’s OK. The worst moment is when the kissing starts up on "She Called Me". If I were kissed like that I think I would be looking for another lover! LOL. Otherwise this album is perfect in every way and if you don’t own it then I suggest you make it a priority purchase ASAP. I cannot really pick out any favourites on here as it's all essential. However I can never ever resist a replay of track one, "After Hours". This is FANTASTIC 70s soul at its best. An amazing 35 years on and it is as fresh now as it ever was. Donny Hathaway gave us a heavenly rendition of "Love Love Love" one year earlier in 1973, but Bailey penned the song and gives us his own lovely version. Soul music from the heart is this, and a mandatory listen to boot. Another classy release from Soul Brother. Cheers, gents!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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