RONNIE WRIGHT (no, not the sometime, late great Miracle) is a soul man who works out of Portland, Oregon. Oddly he also pursues an alternative career as designer and fashion director; his creations have been taken up by companies like Nike and Adidas. Ron says the designing is a great way to allow him to explore his creativity and to “give love”.

Luckily he also gives plenty of “love away” via his music and his collaborative 2015 album ‘Bespeak Love’ was a gem that was revered by those who discovered it…. enough to get it to #1 on the UK soul album chart in November of that year.

Ronnie has now released the official follow-up confusingly (maybe) titled ‘aka Bespeak’. However, there’s no confusion about the soul quality. The ten tracker offers great music from start to finish and in these days of “one track long players”, ‘aka Bespeak’ is revelation – one of those (rare) long players you can listen to right through without reaching for the remote to skip!

The album’s lead single is the snappy groove, ‘I’ll Always Love You’. If features a great soul hook and Ron explains the song’s meaning: “Everyone one needs that significant other who, without a doubt, has your back. ‘I’ll Always Love You’ expresses that real connection with the true ride or die.” Deep and meaningful, for sure, but if you immerse yourself in the song, you’ll understand what Ron’s about!

Very different is the lovely, ‘Let It Go’ – a meandering soul ballad in the manner of Luther Vandross or Ruben Studdard and a great vehicle for Mr Wright’s velvety smooth, jazz-infused voice.

By singling out those two tunes we’re not belittling any of the other eight cuts. At different times we could have highlighted any of them. Yep, this is one great grown up, proper modern soul album. Ronnie again says: “There is a desire for individual expression within each of us that BESPEAKS our persona, style, beliefs, and culture”. Don’t know about you…. I’m not quite sure what big Ron means. I prefer to let the wonderful music do all the talking. Like someone said the message is in the music. Hugely recommended!