PHIL PERRY; A Better Man (Shanachie)


‘A Better Man’ is Phil Perry’s 11th solo LP and the ex-Montclair can still be depended on to deliver top quality, sophisticated soul – perfect for those who appreciate proper, grown up music. By that I mean real songs, beautifully performed and exquisitely vocalised. …. no gimmicks, no pyrotechnics – just a committed artist and a team of seasoned muscians doing what they do best.

Hear all those qualities on the album’s title cut. ‘A Better Man’ is a perfect summation of the art of Phil Perry. It’s slinky, sophisticated, smooth sweet and seductive and delivered in that magic honeyed voice… no wonder Mr P chose it as the album’s lead tune.

Other album highlights include a brace of Impressions’ songs – ‘Gypsy Woman’ and I’m So Proud’. In fairness both have been covered many times before and Phil treats both with total respect. ‘Gypsy Woman’ is taken as it should be – gently, and Phil retains all the sweet understated harmonies. ‘I’m So Proud’ also features some beautiful second line harmonies while Kim Waters’ sax gives the thing a light jazzy feel. The other big cover sees Phil revisit one of his old Montclair’s’ songs – ‘Dreaming’s Out Of Season’. The original was a lovely Philly-flavoured ballad and on this new version Phil retains all that beauty – gently offering a contemporary twist. I’d quite forgotten what a lovely song it was.

Elsewhere expect top class romance with songs  like Feelin U’ (nice horn from Rick Braun here) and the melancholic ‘Sorry I Let You Go’. ‘Stand Up’ is the album’s only radically different song. A duet with Howard Hewett, this one appeals for more social awareness . The message, of course is in the title while musically the burbling rhythms might remind you of a certain ‘Sexual Healing’.

‘A Better Man’ is a class addition to Perry’s catalogue and watch out for an interview with the great man very soon.

(BB) 4/5