Clarence Dobbins ‘Soul Blues Uprising’ (Private Press) 5/5

A most satisfying eight-track album and very welcome return for the golden voice of a modern day Southern Soul genius. There are some scintillating knee trembling ballads on here including his finest moment to date, ‘I’ll Go Crazy’, which is 2/3 years old already, searing balladry of unequalled status, an instantly recognisable voice and a musical backdrop that should be a lesson to other exponents of the genre. His version of ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ is an instant replay from the off and for more of the same drop into ‘Don’t Give Up On M’, and then straight into the sheer magical ‘Call Me’, which is another that has been doing the rounds for some time. Listening to these tunes can overwhelm you if you’re in the mood to have your life presented in front of you, we’ve all experienced the pain and suffering of relationships and Clarence is one of the true great modern day story tellers. There is nothing theatrical about him, just an honest Soul boy from the South. Cultured Southern Soul doesn’t get any better than this; the title track is another strong grower, a swinging bluesy stroller that is so infectious. Mick O’Donnell and Mark Merry have been hammering away at this man’s output on their respective Soul shows. It is great to have this man back.

Brian Goucher