Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Syreeta - One To One - 1977 - Motown

Motown was going through a very disorientating patch in the 1970s - as was the music scene generally, but they managed to slip out some real soulful nugget aside the throwaway Disco / skater grooves that were so prevalent at the time. Syreeta was but one of those quality releases and along with Motown staff writer and solo artist Leon ware, and husband Stevie Wonder gave us this solid, solid album. I highly rate every single track on here - even "Harmour Love" which I simply love for the sheer simplicity, joy and fun of it. I know many may cringe at this song but it's actually a great Stevie Wonder song and it appeals to a wide range of people - my 2 young children LOVE this song and there is almost a childish approach to it that makes it, I guess, so approachable and likable. The rest of the album though is very much what you would expect from the Master of sensuality, Leon Ware. On the opening track which immediately sounds like a Spinners track, Syreeta's voice is nothing short of Angelic. I wish I had met the woman as the feeling I get from her voice is gentleness, an abundance of joy and compassion. As I said, Angelic. Leon Ware's credentials are strong and his additional backing vocal adds more esteem. This track is given a chunkier reprise too, and I have to say that though these tracks are good, they are not the highlights!

I recently reviewed "Leon Ware And Friends", the latest Expansion release, and on there you will find the stylish "I Don't Know". More laid back is the gentle canter of "Rest Yourself", vocals projecting effortlessly yet unrestrained in only the way Syreeta knew how. If you like FUNKY then the luscious and tribal groove of "Tiki Tiki Donga" should be funky enough for you, with an arsenal of reverberating percussion, a full string section and Leon Ware throwing in various vocal effects this track is simply a monster, and different to boot. Highlighting how perfect a match Leon was for this Lady as well as Minnie Riperton, "Don't Cry" fits both singer and producer like a velvet glove. Nothing, though can stand you in stead for the album highlight, "I Too Am Wanting". I have heard this track called 'mournful' but in no way can it be called that. It is sheer soulful beauty and perfection. I rate this as one of Leon Ware's finest delicacies, along with other gems such as "Deeper Than Love" this man is at his best when entering the deepest, most sensual and personal parts of out soul. This man connects at such a deep, quantum / spiritual level. Syreeta is the only vocalist who could ever have pulled this master stroke off. I don't think that even dear old Minnie could have done this. There is a sensitivity, a deep aching urgency so restrained that only a gentle Angel of Syreeta's disposition could pull it off. The genius of Ware knew this, and if you check out the sample below you should feel cold all over by the end of the track. If that's not a great record I really don't know what is!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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