ODYSSEY: Odyssey (Label: bbr)

ODYSSEY: Odyssey

Odyssey’s classic ‘Native New Yorker’ is one of the most innocuous pop-soul tunes of all time. It’s easy to knock its lightness and throwaway sentiments, but it’s even easier to love it. The song has a lovely pace to it and if you’re lucky enough to have ever visited New York you’ll know that it perfectly captures the pulse and pace of the place. The song was the lead-off track on Odyssey’s eponymous debut LP and despite that song’s evergreen credentials the album has never been treated to a full, remastered CD reissue. Cherry Red imprint- bbr – have now just done that and listening it’s easy to hear why other reissue companies have been reluctant to take the plunge. Put simply, there’s just nothing else on the original eight tracker that comes anywhere near to ‘Native New Yorker’. That’s not to say that the album was a stinker. It’s not. It’s a perfectly pleasant 70’s confection of sweet soul veering to pop and lead singer Lillian Lopez has a wonderfully soulful delivery. Equally, numbered amongst the players on the album are the cream of the 70’s New York session scene, including – John Tropea, Cornell Dupree, Richard Tee and the Brecker Brothers. Best cut on the album after THAT song is ‘Weekend Lover’. It has a pleasing melody and its lyrics (though predictable in theme) aren’t run of the mill. Elsewhere, of interest are ‘Easy Come Easy Go’ (a light dancer) and ‘You Keep Me Dancing’ which – despite its title- is a dreamy ballad. I had to avoid ‘The Woman Behind The Man’ ( horrible echoes of Boney M!) but that’s more than made up for by the inclusion of the 12″ mix of ‘Native New Yorker’. This longer version allowed the players to stretch out just a little and it really does define the sounds of Manhattan.
(BB) 3/5