Darrian Ford ‘New Standards’ (Private Press) 5/5

During the course of last year I had at least 45 new albums land via various sources, most of which contained at least one great track, the odd few were complete albums in that you could put them on and leave them, no track jumping needed, but they are a rarity. Well here’s one for this year, promoted as a Jazz album but this is much more than that, it’s very soulful with jazz touches, his voice has such clarity and dominance, the album has been mixed perfectly so this lovely soul voice in its rightful place. I stumbled over him on CD Baby when he put out the scintillating soul grower “On the ocean”, I would suggest this will be one of the tracks of the year and would be perfect at 4am at the forthcoming Soul Essence weekender, kicks of a bit like “Dock of the Bay” and then it morphs into an emotional beat ballad, he sounds like Little Anthony and played loud this is simply stunning, easily the best version of this tune I have ever heard, he owns it now.

It seems like an age waiting for the album but it’s here in all its 15 track glory, it really is a thing of beauty. He hails from Chicago and has been on tour with his Sam Cooke revival show since 2006 when he kicked it of to rave reviews in New York City, you see, he doesn’t want Sam’s music to die, he wants to bring it to the masses, good on him. One of my earliest memories is dancing to Sam’s “Another Saturday Night” at Barbarella’s Night Club in Birmingham totally lost in the music and then realising a couple of hundred people were watching me, I was a couple of weeks away from my 14th birthday I had blagged my way in and pestered the jock for soul tunes all night – anyway back to this album – now Bill’s “Lovely Day” shouldn’t be tampered with as it is a stone classic, but hang on, Darrian has smashed it with an unknown female providing a foil to his silky smooth vocals, she posses a beauty of a voice and it all works so well, so far removed from the original this will get spins for years to come – if only there were some info of her identity! You could buy this album just for those two cuts and you would be very happy indeed. Now then, if rare groove is your bag then jump on “The One” because if this had appeared on some obscure album from the late 70’s early 80’s it would be seriously sought after. OMG he’s at it again with his Little Anthony sounding “Not my brother’s keeper” with a thumping big bass to keep him company, horns to die for, I really can’t get enough of this, the album kicks of with the Jazz fuelled “Loose Cotton Shirt” which wouldn’t have sounded out-of-place on the recent James Hunter Six long player, the meandering “Acorns” is another grower which is getting repeat spins here. I could go on, just buy it, you will not find a duff track on here, I’m converted.

Brian Goucher