GEDEON LUKE AND THE PEOPLE; Live Free & Love (Monocentric)

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Born in Memphis but now based in New York, Gedeon Luke is a new age soul man but with his roots firmly in soul’s garlanded past. Leaks from this – his debut long player – and choice live and TV appearances have convinced many soul tastemakers that Mr. Luke is one to watch in 2015. Listening long and hard to the 11 tracks of ‘Live Free & Love’ gives me no reason to contradict those predictions.

The album is set out like many classics of the vinyl era were. That’s to say there are two distinct sides. What would have been the old “A” side is dubbed ‘Live Free’ while the putative “B” side carries the ‘Love’ titling. And like those old classics, Gedeon and his People deliver two distinct flavours – both united by the artists’ passion, commitment and desire to deliver proper soul music.

The five songs that make up the ‘Live Free’ “side” are raw and unbridled. Full of energy, it seems that Gedeon has dipped his sonic brushes into the palettes of people like Lenny Kravitz, Prince and Sly and The Family Stone. The Sly connection is most obvious on ‘Standing On Top Of The World’. It rides in on a deep bass/wah-wah guitar groove as Gedeon introduces The People à la ‘Dance To The Music’. ‘Hey (That’s What I Say)’ is another “A” side goodie – more acoustic in feeling with an organic, live feel to it.

The album’s “B” side…. the 6 tracks under the ‘Love’ umbrella…. is more classically soulful and constantly you’ll be reminded of a certain Curtis Mayfield – not just in the fractured falsetto that Gedeon assumes but also in the quality of the song writing. The suite opens with ‘The Healing’ …a quite lovely thing with sweet layered harmonies though it’s bettered by the sombre, melancholic ‘Hurting Kind’ and the mid-tempo ‘Gray’ (with a riff reminiscent of Carole King’s ‘It’s Too Late’). Those two and the gentle ‘I’ll Be Your Friend’ will, I’m sure, bring a smile to Curtis’ countless fans.

Find out more about Gedeon, his People and ‘Live Free &Love’ @ … you won’t be disappointed.

(BB) 4/5