KIM TIBBS: Kim (Expansion)


The name Kim Tibbs might be unfamiliar to many, but the Alabama-born, Gospel reared soulstress has been in the business for 30 years! Over that period, the keyboardist and singer/songwriter has built up an impressive CV that includes work with people like Billy Ray Cyrus, The Blind Boy of Alabama, Noel Gourdin, Percy Sledge, Bobby Rush, Bobby Bland, Paul Rogers of Bad Company, The Hi-Rhythm Section of Memphis, The Swampers of Muscle Shoals, Keke Wyatt, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals.

Last year Ms Tibbs struck out on her own debuting with a jazzy-soul single ‘I Need You For Your Love!’ which became a no. 1 hit in the UK Soul Chart finishing up at no.4 rating in the UK’s Top 100 of the year’s best soul records. That was followed by another jazz-tinged soul groove, ‘Drifting’ and then the uplifting ‘Soul’. The buzz these records created convinced UK soul entrepreneur Ralph Tee to take up the Kim Tibbs cause and the end result is this – the lady’s debut long player. Yep… maybe thirty years too late but well worth the wait!

Listening you can hear why Mr Tee took the album on. Tunes like ‘I Need You For Your Love!’, ‘Soul’ and ‘My Reason For Life’ are bob on the modern soul vibe that Tee’s Expansion label is noted for… tight, danceable beats, sweet melodies and soul a-plenty! But a single artist album that repeats that groove over a dozen or so tracks soon wearies and Ralph and Kim know that only too well. So, be sure there’s plenty if variety on ‘Kim’.

Right, try ‘Move’ – an old school soul-jazz groove with a bluesy undertow and some fab Earl Van Dyke style Hammond fills; or ‘My Heart Belong To You’ – a jazzy Anita Ward style meander; or the sweet ballads that are ‘For’ and ‘Can I Spend My Life’; then if you want to hear Kim’s Gospel roots give ‘Building That’ll Last’ a spin and contemplate on the metaphor-laden ‘The River’.

Yep, plenty of soul variety all held together by the Kim’s remarkable voice, best described as unusual – yet convincing and soulfully world weary, betraying both her Gospel roots and 30 years of spade work at the sharp end of the business. Singles-wise the new one is ‘My Better Side’ – a crisp dancer that’s sure to repeat the success of ‘I Need You For Your Love!’ but to enjoy Ms Tibb’s full range, it’ll have to be the album!

(BB) 4/5