- Anthony Hamilton - Back to Love (RCA)
Rating: 9 (out of 10)
Like Raphael Saadiq, Anthony Hamilton creates sublime old school soul music that sounds like it could have been recorded back in the day. While Saadiq's material leans more towards the Motown side of things, Hamilton's gritty R&B tunes are closer to Stax Records' southern gospel sound.
Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Hamilton obviously spent a lot of time in the church choir growing up. His brand of soul music is part of a long tradition that includes names like Al Green, O.V. Wright, Johnnie Taylor and many other fine practitioners of the gospel soul sound.
Hamilton has been doing great work for some time and he's collaborated with many artists over his career. If you
want an authentic sound, the thinking goes, he's the go-to guy. Back to Love, his first on the RCA imprint, is actually his sixth solo album. Some of the tracks (like "Writing on the Wall") could be outtakes from Al Green's The Belle Album with the same sort of intense groove/trance/Memphis vibe used to build the music.
Everything Hamilton does is worth checking out.
- Betty Wright and The Roots - Betty Wright: The Movie (S-Curve)
Rating: 7 (out of 10)
The Roots are much more than Jimmy Fallon's house band although that regular late night TV gig probably makes records like this possible. Here they back up Miami's Miss B, Betty Wright, who may be more well known now for her work with Joss Stone than any of her own classic tracks.
They did the same thing with John Legend in 2010 for Wake Up! although that disc mainly featured cover tunes from the '60s and '70s.
This time around The Roots brought Wright into the studio with all new material that shows she has lost none of her power as a writer and a performer.
Awkward guest spots from Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg are a mistake but otherwise this collaboration was long overdue.