GWEN MCCRAE; Melody Of Life (bbr)


Florida-born Gwen McCrae is one of Southern soul’s great talents…. sadly, though, underrated in the mainstream. Soul cognoscenti, however, revere her feisty work and collectors who are looking to fill gaps in their McCrae collection will be delighted that bbr have taken it upon themselves to reissue her 1979 album ‘Melody Of Life’.

The 7 tracker was the singer’s final album for the Henry Stone imprint, Cat. Produced by the redoubtable Betty Wright, it opens with the still magnificent’ ‘All This Love That I’m Givin”. For some strange reason the crunchy, bass-heavy dancer wasn’t a major hit when it was released as a single… but now- 30 odd years down the road – it still has the potential to fill dance floors.

Other goodies on the set include the gentle ‘I Can Only Think Of You’, and the sprightly ‘The Joy’ but hit any track and hear classic Southern soul wailing at its best. The tale of loneliness that is ‘Ease The Pain’, for example, is a master class in passion. In some respects that’s the problem with the album…. it’s just too darn soulful for the aforementioned mainstream.

This new bbr reissues come with a couple of bonus cuts – single mixes of the mighty ‘All This Love That I’m Givin” and ‘The Joy’ while the sleeve notes fill in all the relevant details of Gwen’s Cat career.

(BB) 3/5