Kindred the Family Soul (husband and wife, Fatin and Aja Dantzler) have been making great soul music for over ten years. In between not only have they managed to remain a committed couple (a tough job in the modern whirl of show business) they’ve also brought up six children. Over the years their albums have often been a musical commentary on where they were at at the particular time and their last collection , ‘Love Has No Recession’ was a bitter sweet reflection on the damage which the banker-created economic crash wrought on relationships and how if the mutual respect and commitment is there, love can and will survive. Well, the Dantzler’s relationship certainly survived. Indeed, it flourished and on this new outing they celebrate that survival big style with a lovely suite of masterly crafted love songs. With one notable exception, the wry, biting observations on greed and corruption have gone and in their place here we can enjoy positive comments on real love and respectful relations –all wrapped up in the sweetest modern soul you could conceive.
There’s lots of magical music here with the two immediate grabbers being throwbacks to the classic music of the duo’s native Philadelphia. Both ‘Lovin’ The Night’ and ‘Never Loved You More’ are redolent of TSOP, Sigma and all that was good about the City Of Brotherly Love in the 70s. ‘Never Loved You More’ in particular is a real gem… so good it would have been a wonderful vehicle for the incomparable Lou Rawls. There’s a hint of the Philly classics about the ballad ‘One Day Soon’ too. Don’t get me wrong. It’s totally modern like everything here but there’s just a touch of the guitar sound from the Stylistics’ ‘You Are Everything’ about it.
‘Everybody’s Hustling’ is another album winner. It’s sweet n’ lovely – an understated riposte to the glorification of money in much of contemporary R&B. The message is that people can reach for greatness without the almighty dollar. This is the cut that harks back to Kindred’s previous collection but its musical style perfectly suits the mood of ‘A “Couple” Friends’… and what a great title that is for the album. Yes a “couple” can be friends and throughout the 13 tracker that message is gently and sweetly delivered, maybe most strikingly on the dramatic title song (which features the great Valerie Simpson on piano by the way). It’s just one great moment on a great album!