We have been waiting for this album for what seems like such a long time. I stumbled over this group accidentally whilst trawling through YouTube some years ago, since then my love affair has grown along with the group’s sound. If this album doesn’t feature in people’s top tens at the end of the year then there will be no justice. It is without doubt the perfect album in every way from the stunning vocals and creative writing of Kam Franklin, a voice of immense power and ability to tell a story, and musicianship of the highest quality, with strings courtesy of Daphne Johnson on Cello, JD Karpicks on Viola, Shelli Mathews and Tony Sanville on Violin, Jon Durban on Trumpet and Michael Razo on Trombone, whilst one of my faves, the Wurlitzer, is masterfully played by Patrick Kelly, who also plays piano and Rhodes to boot. Add to that, Tito Martinez on Flute, an instrument we don’t hear enough of in soul circles, and we have one tight formation.
So what’s got me going then? In 1995, Frankie Knuckles provided us with what I believe to be his finest moment on the album “Welcome To The Real World”, with ‘You’re My Number One’ a moody synth heavy opus with torturous vocals from Adeva well, I got to tell you that “After the Storm” is straight out of that mould. An explosive mellow bass heavy monster with tinkling piano throughout trying to out do a vast vocal from Kam Franklin, and if that wasn’t enough, it features additional vocals from Lyle Divinsky who had a fabulous album out in 2015 which contains two wonderful moments in ‘Fallin’ and ‘The Way’ – do check it out. The rest of the album provides some fine moments, the mid tempo dancer, ‘Mammas’, should be gracing the 1210s everywhere and modern soul clubs should be banging this out, a floor filler without doubt, throw your head back, let your legs do the rest and wallow in some wonderful vocals and with trombone and trumpet blasting its way into your head, running keys and that thumping bass the sound suggests a cast of thousands, wonderful.
It should be noted at this juncture that Kam Franklyn wrote the lyrics for the bulk of this album, a very talented lady this. Musically the album kicks off the fine choppy 2 stepper, ‘I Think I Love You’, which has a very familiar feel about and it doesn’t take long to sink into your head and then straight into ‘Do Whatever’, which is a very classy head nodding stepper, once the chorus hits you it’s there, then in comes a Rag Time Trumpet, just so right. Another full-on dancer destined for serious reaction is ‘What You Said’, with heavy percussion, muted backing singers, guitar, bass, trombone – a true top sound for sure. There are two interludes on here now normally I would write them off but I can’t, they work perfectly and definitely have a place, in particular ‘A Word From Our Mammas’, which is exactly that, inspirational. Having now had the CD for some time, and anticipating the arrival of Vinyl, with digital out there too, you have little excuse in acquiring.