CHRIS YOUNGBLOOD; In Love With You (Soul Unsigned)

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Chris Youngblood is a Californian soul singer and ‘In Love With You’ is his first proper full solo set… it’s also the first single artist set on the UK-based Soul Unsigned label. It was on one of that label’s compilations that this long player’s title cut first appeared and, here, it’s clearly the standout and familiarity hasn’t diminished its pleasing, lazy, summer-groove appeal. It seems that Chris himself knows it’s his best song ‘cos he also treats it to an acoustic remix, retaining all its intrinsic charm. I can offer no further compliment than to say that Earl Klugh would be proud of it! Elsewhere on the 15 tracker there’s plenty more of the same. ‘Love In The Morning’ is particularly strong. It’s a rolling, mid-tempo groove that is built round a gentle guitar figure that might remind you of the intro to ‘Rainy Night In Georgia’. Those who like sedate dancing will enjoy ‘Without You’ and the slightly pacier ‘Spend Your Life’ but I felt the set piece dancer of ‘We Gon’ party’ just lacked the real energy demanded by the sentiments, while ‘We Can Do It’ and ‘Hot’ (both with short raps) get near to contemporary R&B flavours. Ballad-wise, ‘Don’t Waste Time’ and ‘Lady Of My Dreams’ are pleasing – as is the harmonic ‘Daydreaming’. The set isn’t a mould-breaker… it was never meant to be. Rather, Chris wanted to craft a professional, slick modern soul set that respects the great soul men of the past without becoming a pastiche. In that – he’s clearly succeeded. In many ways the set reminds me of those albums that Dennis Taylor cut a few years back and fans of Dennis could do worse than investigate Chris. Be sure, too, to check out SJF’s exclusive interview with him in our in-depth interviews section.

(BB) 4/5