Monday, 9 February 2009

Leon Ware - The Education Of Sonny Carson OST - 1973 - United Artists

A much sought-after album, and one that EMI really should thing about adding to iTunes Plus. Fetching a tidy sum, this album is Leon Ware's second solo foray, and first and last soundtrack effort. Mostly known and loved for the beautiful "Girl, Girl, Girl" cut - of which a ropey version appeared on the recent Leon Ware and Friends compilation - it is important to know that there are many other worthwhile cuts on this album. The album consists of vocal cuts and fantastic cinematic instrumentals - better and more soulful than your parodaic run-of-the-mill blaxpoitation films of the period. I shall start of with "Where Do I Go From Here", a superb vocal track with Leon pitched against a lonesome piano at the offset, but soon matched with a phenomenal musical array that reminds me of Dexter Wansel and Todd Rundgren all in one go. This is a blinding track and one that should be equal with "Girl, Girl, Girl". That track, though with it's french horns and warm, summery bassline is simply a dream track and well worth a place on any compilation of the Great Man.

The interlude "The Robbery And The Chase" is not as hectic as you would imagine, and the percussion including some great bongo work reminds me so much of his work for Motown in the mid 70s. Brilliant. The swirling strings and funky wah-wah guitar give urgency and pace and it isn't til the horns punch in that the urgency is felt more keener. Here, tempo is used to great effect. The same can be said of "Exercise Run", an almost avant-garde jazz affair crammed with bursts of drama. "Daydreams" is a track to take you by surprise. It is a classic piece of music that could even be used for meditative purposes - check out the beautiful works of Llewellyn and this is not far removed. The flute and gentle piano is very soothing and dare I say it - almost New Age! The breathy "Please Be There" brings back Leon Ware to the forefront, and the gorgeous sax here is undeniably satisfying and sexy. A gorgeous track - with the most unlikely title - is "The Junkies". This string-laden beauty of a track allows the flute and percussion to gently cushion Leon's vocals dreamily. In reflection you can hear the roots of Marvin's "I Want You" set, and Leon's own "Musical Massage" set. And all this in 1973!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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