Jennifer Holliday ‘The Song is You’ (Shanachie) 2/5

I was so disappointed with this release. I mean this is the lady who gave us the totally spell binding “And I’m telling you I’m not leaving” 20 plus years ago (no not Jennifer Hudson). With a gap that long you would be thinking there is something big coming from Ms Holliday… then bang – nothing! Theatrical, over-produced, and clearly her many years of treading the boards in stage musicals has removed her so far from her roots, it’s just so painful to listen to. I suppose the cover should have warned me, air brushed, theatrical presentation – I just wanted it all so badly it just had to fail. However, all is not quite lost, there is one track that saves the day, a spoken monologue ala Shirley Brown/Barbara Mason/Millie Jackson leads us into the most exquisite ballad which I haven’t been able to stop playing these past few months. Echoes of days gone by (and I’m playing it as I type) and no amount of words can do this monumental piece of soul music justice, grab a listen yourself, seriously moving. 5 Stars for “Are You Leaving Me” but yet another one-track album for the soul music lovers worldwide.

Brian Goucher