CALVIN RICHARDSON; America’s Most Wanted (Shanachie)

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Last month we highlighted this release in our “news” pages and we predicted that the set would become of the soul albums of the year. It seems we were right. Over the last four months ‘America’s Most Wanted’ has been hammered by modern soul DJs and all the very best internet soul radio stations. The two cuts getting the most attention are the two tight little dancers – the album’s title cut and ‘Feels Like We Sexin”. Both have proved hugely popular with the steppers but anyone who likes a sedate little shuffle will find them both irresistible. They’re built on catchy melodies and Calvin proves (again) that he possesses one of the best true soul voices in modern music. Those two are the most immediate cuts but the intricacies of ‘You Possess My Body’ and ‘Paradise’ will reward repeated plays. The ballads make a few more demands – they’re properly passionate and avoid the sentimentality that bedevils lots of modern R&B slowies. ‘You’re So Amazing’ is possibly the best of the quiet moments, though some might find its melody a tad too close to the Chi-Lites’ ‘Toby’ for total comfort. ‘Come Over’ is a real 60s throwback … intense and deep it rides a guitar figure that Steve Cropper would be proud of. Here, vocally, Calvin is in Bobby Womack mode… ditto ‘Monday Morning’ and ‘Thug Livin” – which opens with a tight little rap that the Soul Poet himself could have coined. There’s more pleading balladry on ‘Adore You’, ‘Never Do You Wrong’ and ‘Reach Out’. In short, this album shows that those who were wise enough to dub Calvin Richardson ‘The Soul Prince’ all those years ago weren’t wrong; nor were we when we claimed that ‘America’s Most Wanted’ will be one of the albums of 2010.

(BB) 4/5