DONALD SHEFFEY: See You Tonight (Label: Weezie)

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Donald Sheffey’s ‘Just Because’ was one of the best tracks on Soul Unsigned’s recent ‘Contemporary Soul Songbook’ compilation and those who liked that gentle, smooth soul sound will find more of the same on this new 13 tracker. Indeed it’s the same kind of groove and feel that opens proceedings. The first cut, ‘My Heart’, is a sweet, languid ballad with a delightful melody that’s enhanced by a tracking sax line. ‘Every Day’, ‘Waiting’, ‘On My Mind’ and ‘You Are’ are all pleasing down tempo moments too while for a little variety ‘Let’s Go Away’ is a light Latin number that may set feet tapping. There are, though, more obvious dance items, the best being ‘Tonight’. On this one the beats are tight and set at just the right tempo for the modern soul dancers. ‘I Don’t Want You Back’ and ‘Come Dance With Me’ also offer insidious dance grooves as too does the slightly faster, edgier ‘Have Some Fun Tonight’ though that one suffers, I think, from the run-of-the-mill “let’s party” style lyrics. Like a lot of indie soul albums the bulk of the material here is self-penned but young Donald also offers a clever and not-so-obvious cover and maybe because of the song’s familiarly – or maybe because of the clever production – the tune presents itself as the clear standout. Song in question is Carole King’s ‘So Far Away’. It’s (rightly) treated with respect … not too far from the original, but clever harmonies and the interesting tempos offer enough to build an intrigue… a great track on a good indie soul album that in some ways reminds me of the stuff Dennis Taylor was doing ten or so years ago. The PR blurb that came with ‘See You Tonight’ grandiosely claims that it’s “one of the best R&B adult contemporary CDs of all time”… Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but, to recap, the set is a very good indie modern soul album and anyone who still yearns for the quality sounds of the 70s and 80s will find lots to enjoy here. Available from all the usual internet outlets
(BB) 4/5