Blu Mitchell ‘Blu Eyed Soul’ (Mastermynd Entertainment) 4/5

Now then, there I was catching up with some episodes of my favourite shows and I hear this guy on the radio, his voice shone out like a beacon in the night. Off I went to investigate. Now you must ignore the title as there is nothing blue-eyed about this, this is a black man singing with guts, grits and passion the way we like it, although I should point out that he is not the legendary jazz man who shares the same name either, so yes, it does all get somewhat confusing.

Straight then to the monster that is, “Standing Ovation”, an epic 70’s influenced dancer that back in the day would have smashed up soul clubs everywhere, but as it is, we can only hope. Everything you could ever want is here; stunning musically and a tremendous voice just riding the musical storm effortlessly. The heavy percussion fuelled “Fool For Love” meanders along, getting into your head, with fine vocals again and with real prominent backing singers too – an instant replay for sure.
He is also a fine balladeer too, take “Another Sad Love Song” where battle commences with the backing posse, Mitchell staying strong.
Such a lovely piece, “Have You Ever”, is another cracking down-low tune. I couldn’t wait to hear the track as he shares vocals with Puff Johnson, a woman with an immense voice that over the years has been wasted on kiddy pop, (sorry I should have said RnB). It was always my thought that she deserved much more than that, please someone put her in the studio with some grown up lyrics and some real instruments, after all that we don’t really get to hear to much from her.
“Anna Mae” is a stepper with some healthy touches, but the big track on the album for me is his version of “I’ll Give It Up” feat. Andre Delano, not quite a ballad but not a dancer either, fine musicianship and top vocals make this one a real beauty. The last 4 tracks are all re-mixes inc 2 of “Standing Ovation”, neither of which add anything to the original. This release is a solid addition to the heaving shelves and one I sense won’t be filed away for a while.

Brian Goucher