DAVE TOLLIVER: The Blaq Pavarotti (Label: Papi Chuio)

  • Home
  • Reviews
  • DAVE TOLLIVER: The Blaq Pavarotti (Label: Papi Chuio)
DAVE TOLLIVER: The Blaq Pavarotti

Cleveland’s Dave Tolliver began his musical career – surprise, surprise – in the church. He then graduated to radio DJ-ing before a meeting with Gerald Levert encouraged him to get back to singing. So, he formed a group – Men At Large – and enjoyed a decent degree of success. Now, though, he’s on his own and this first solo set shows an awful lot of promise, but it doesn’t deliver enough consistency. The problems – as they seem to me – are varied, but most could have been solved if Dave had used an outside producer to act as that important extra ear. He/she would, I’m sure, have told Mr. T that at 16 tracks the album is too long – it would have been easy to drop some of the less distinguished songs; equally I’d hope that said putative producer might work with Dave on the style/substance issue. Here there’s just too much attention to superficials. Almost every track has a gimmicky intro – featuring either vocoders, street sounds, disembodied voices or any other effect the studio computer could throw up. Equally too many of the songs are peppered with the repetition of the album’s title … and isn’t ‘Blaq Pavarotti’ just about the worst album title of the year? That said, when Dave gets down to basics he produces some fine soul – best of which is the album’s closing ballad, ‘So Alone’. It’s big but not in your face; tender but not sentimental – the kind of thing Dave’s mentor – the late Gerald Levert – used to do so well. ‘What To Do’ is another good soul cut with a crisp mid-tempo rhythm that could please the more sedate dancers. ‘Why You Mad’ is crisp too – but spoiled by helium fuelled backing vocals. Elsewhere, there are plenty of jittery contemporary R&B items and a threatening beater on ‘Shorty A Freak’. The album also contains the year’s most unromantic “romantic come on”. On ‘Wife Her’ Dave attempts to woo the object of his affection with, “Roses are red, violets are blue… you go me sprung like that Nike shock shoe”… must remember that next Valentine’s Day. For more information on Dave Tolliver go to – www.twitter.com/davetolliver or www.facebook.com/davetolliver
(BB) 3/5