JJ Thames ‘Tell You What I Know’ (DeChamp Records) 5/5

JJ-ThamesI’m fast approaching sixty and having bought my first soul record at the age of twelve (listening from the age of ten) you would think that I no longer get excited about a new release, or the acquisition of an illusive 45 or album from the dim and distant past – well you would be wrong. I had been waiting three long weeks for this eleven tracker to drop through the door, was the wait worth it? oh yes indeed it was. I’ll tell you now this is the best new black female voice to surface since Ann Nesby spoilt us with her first album all those years ago. A lovely mixture of ballads, strollers, mid-tempo dancers, straight soul, blues and with an overall jazzy feeling to the proceedings we are spoilt for choice. Straight then the subtle strolling dancer “Just Enough” – the bastard child of the brilliant Preston Shannon “The way that I love you” from his 2006 album “Be with me tonight” (yes its that good), Preston Shannon is huge for me and always puts bodies onto the floor, “Just enough” will go onto become as revered, I’m sure of that. Serious radio plays then for the scintillating ballad that is “Tell you what I know” up there with the likes of Jennifer Holliday “And I’m telling you”. I know I’m making comparisons but sometimes it helps to put the tracks into some modern day perspective. “I got what you need” is a southern style dancer which will appeal to some of the hard nosed crowd, I’m not going to review this album track by track, space don’t allow that, but If you buy this and you don’t get it, then I suggest you take up soot juggling, stamp collecting or some other mundane, banal past-time and leave the serious stuff to the rest of us.

Brian Goucher