EBONY EVANS: You Did It All (Label: Coastal Records)

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Ebony Evans is a young soul singer who works in and around Atlanta, and though ‘You Did It All’ is only her second album she has an intriguing pedigree that predates her debut. As a precocious 12 year old she was singled out by James Brown, who chose her to open for him on several of his live shows and that link with old soul sensitivities shines through on this pleasing 15 tracker. Young Ebony makes few concessions to the vagaries of contemporary R&B preferring to mine a groove that harks back to the golden age of soul – a predilection underlined by the album’s art work. ‘Silent Running’ is possibly the closest we get to replicating the sound of the past. That cut’s a sophisticated little ballad that recalls the likes of Barbara Mason and it’s more ballads that provide the album’s other highspots. ‘Away With You’ is sombre with a bluesy undertow… good but very different to the two other goodies – ‘Half As Much Is All I Need’ and ‘All Night, All Right’. The former is a cool affair with some sweet piano while the latter is real knee-trembler. Those who like to dance might well enjoy the opener ‘Just Because Of You’ and the edgier ‘Keep On Dancing – You Can Win’. Elsewhere ‘Sure Love Really’ and ‘Singin’ Your Song’ are pleasing examples of pop soul while ‘Sweet, Sweet, Sweet Emotion’ has a roughness that is almost funky. ‘You Did It All’ is an unprepossessing soul album that is just lacking in one really big song. Maybe the producer Emanuel M Campbell Jr might have considered letting Ebony loose on an interesting cover or at least considering songs from somewhere other than his own pen. As it stands, you can hear the potential that won over James Brown and if you want to investigate more go to www.ebonyevans.com
(BB) 3/5