MAYSA; Back 2 Love (Shanachie)


The ever-lovely and always-dependable Maysa needs no introduction to these hallowed pages. Since her days with prime time Incognito she’s been a soul connoisseurs favourite… indeed many long-term soul fans fondly remember times before that when she was part of Stevie’s Wonderlove.

The Baltimore-born soulstress made her solo debut back in 1995 for GRP Records (remember them?) and since then each and every one of her albums has added to her reputation as one of the very best soul singers of her generation and this new Shanachie 12 tracker only underlines that status.

Highlights abound on ‘Back 2 Love’. The track currently winning the radio acclaim is ‘Last Chance For Love’ – a fabulous duet with another contemporary soul great, Phil Perry. Between them the duo create a perfect Quiet Storm moment. Magically they make it sound so effortless but in reality it takes a mountain of effort and a lifetime of experience to sound this soulful.

The album boasts another winning duet – ‘Keep It Movin”. Here Maysa is partnered by Mint Condition’s ‘Stokley and here he sounds remarkably like a young Stevie Wonder.

The album’s title tune is another winner. It kicks things off in splendid dance fashion… a great mover, it sits perfectly on the cusp of modern soul and soulful house. There’s a harder remix included on the album and the tempo’s kept at danceable level on ‘The Radio Played Our Song’ and ‘Miracle.’

My favourite track (at that movement at any rate) is ‘Go Away Little Boy’. It has everything that makes Maysa’s work so appealing…. a rich vocal, evocative phrasing, a beautiful melody, meaningful lyrics and a touch of jazz styling. The song’s not the Marlena Shaw one…. but it pays homage to that classic and indeed Maysa admits that that one was one of her favourites when she was growing up. Here, she just puts her own spin and vibe on the theme and the result is soul magic. Indeed, you know, ‘Soul Magic’ wouldn’t be a bad title for the whole album.

(BB) 4/5