TRINA BROUSSARD: ‘Inside My Love’ (Label: Expansion)

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Sometimes there are decisions made by record companies in relation to soul music acts that are absolutely unfathomable to fans and collectors. Why, for example, did Atlantic shelve fine solo LPs by Sam Moore and Bettye LaVette in the early ’70s? And why did Motown elect to consign perfectly good albums by Brenda Holloway and David Ruffin to a cobwebbed future in the vaults? Of course, the record companies will probably cite what they perceive as valid reasons to justify their decisions – budgetary constraints perhaps or maybe even a disagreement with the artists themselves. Sometimes, though, just a change of regime and personnel at the company can affect the fate of an album. This preamble leads us to consider another – and much more recent – ‘canned’ album. Houston native, Trina Broussard – who sang backgrounds for the likes of Pebbles, Toni Braxton, Babyface and Mariah Carey in the ’90s – was signed to producer Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def label (then an imprint of Sony/Columbia) in 1997, where she recorded a version of Minnie Riperton’s ‘Inside My Love’ for the ‘Love Jones’ movie soundtrack. Released as a single, the record made the lower reaches of the US R&B lists. The single ‘Love So Much’ followed two years later, a precursor to the parent debut album, ‘Inside My Love.’ Promo copies were distributed by the record company but inexplicably, just before its official release, Columbia pulled the plug and shelved the album. The reason behind their action isn’t clear to outsiders but quickly the existing promos began exchanging hands for big sums of money. Nine years later and the in-demand 10-track album – hailed as a lost classic by those who’d previously heard it – finally sees the light of day thanks to the resourcefulness of Expansion. Almost a decade on and unlike a lot of modern R&B, it doesn’t sound dated. It also boasts an impressive cast of A-list contributors, ranging from Rahsaan Patterson and Alicia Keys (co-author of ‘Why Do I Feel So Sad’) to Trey Lorenz and James Poyser. The title track is a sublime reading of the Leon Ware-co-penned original – it’s sleek, sensuous and soulful. ‘Sailing’ is probably the killer cut: a gorgeously breezy cut with an infectious chorus. ‘Not Around’ also boasts an addictive hook, while the slower ‘All Night Long’ blends a churchy, gospel feel with jazz inflections. Also listen out for ‘Remember Me,’ a summery, sweetly soulful mid-tempo number whose gently undulating groove is seasoned with slivers of Hammond organ. The original 10-track album is appended by a bonus cut in the shape of the Yuletide tune, ‘It’s Not Really Christmas.’ Broussard has her third album, ‘Life Of A Libra,’ scheduled for a 2008 release – but until that surfaces, this lost treasure should satisfy the most discerning of soul fans. Superb. You can buy it from
(CW) 4/5