Donald Sheffey’s last album – 2009’s ‘See You Tonight’ made considerable waves on the indie soul circuit and those who were turned on by his relaxed take on real modern soul will be delighted by this – his new set – which offers lots more of the same. Like that last set, ‘Between You And I’ offers a well balanced mix of sensitive ballads and up-tempo numbers, with a sprinkling of lilting mid-tempo grooves to ensure variety… and indeed it’s those little lilters that provide the LP’s high spots – ‘Gifted’ and ‘Loving You Tonight’. The former is co-penned by UK soul entrepreneur Di Lee and the lyric deals with an issue we don’t often get in soul songs – the difficulty some women have in conceiving children. The song’s theme is that when the difficulties are overcome, new mothers realize how “gifted” they are. It’s a subtle idea – complimented perfectly by the light Latin arrangement and delicate melody. ‘Loving You Today’ is gently insidious too – with a flavour of Dennis Taylor about it (now, what ever happened to him?).
You can hear echoes of Taylor on some of the up-tempo tunes too – notably ‘Steppin’ Out’ which features delightful harmonies on the chorus hook though ‘I’m Bumping To It’ is different again. This one almost steps into soulful house territory while the opening ‘Good Times’ features unusual beat patterns and avoids the musical stereotype that the song’s title might suggest.
The album also features some pleasing ballads of which the jazz-inflected ‘In Love’ stands out –echoes of Will Downing about this one. ‘For Your Love’, Time Out For Love’ and the album’s title cut all have considerable soulful depth too and are programmed for maximum impact between beatier items like ‘What You Need’. For more information on this recommended album go to www.weezieproductions.com