Leela James ‘Did It For Love” (BMG) 4/5

>It’s been 3 years since we last heard from this excellent voice. Now on her 6th album to date and by far her finest. Over the period of these albums her voice has grown in strength and confidence and really is a joy at times.
Let’s get the gripes out of the way first; there isn’t a straight no hold barred ballad on here and there should be as her voice is tailor made for deep soul. Okay then let’s go straight to the two seriously big noises on the album. First up the duet with Dave Holister and the R Kelly inspired dancer “Good to love you”, this really is the one hell of a dancer that is ripe for all manner of remixes – it really is something special. Well it is until we hear “This day is for you” – WOW, think perhaps of the mighty Al Wilson and his anthemic “Show & Tell” and you are on the right path. Vocally she really does show us what she’s got, sweet crossover magic, this could really go big in a thinking man’s soul arena and deserves to be on every soul radio station out there. So all you radio jocks who claim to be soul-full, why don’t you get behind quality like this?

The first track to get my full attention was “Don’t want you back” a meandering toe tapping head nodder. I suppose the closest we get to a ballad is “I remember”, which starts off in slow style but morphs into another quality head nodder. “There 4 U” is an uptempo dancer that could quite easily become a sought after 7” if it found its way onto that medium, and perhaps be another “Happy” as it has that dance-ability and appeal.

Rex Rideout and Leela appear to dominate the proceedings in terms of writing, production etc. There appears to be an array of musicians, the sound created is very modern contemporary, a most enjoyable listen.

Earlier on we mentioned Dave Hollister, it’s about time we had a straight soul album from him, he’s wasted on the RnB.

Oh and finally, let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next one.

Brian Goucher