This album was originally released in early 2003 so it's surprising that it's taken over 2 years to get its first Amazon review.
For those of you unfamiliar with Lewis Taylor he is one of the UK's greatest exponents of soul-based music, and has been for a decade. Why massive commercial success has never been his is somewhat bemusing, but probably in part due to the fact that his music is so much more complex and original than that which record companies usually market as 'soul', and indeed, deserves not to be pigeon-holed as such anyway.
His eponymous debut is one the best 'soul' albums, from any country, of the last decade and still sounds as groundbreaking as it did in 1995 and I strongly urge those wishing to discover Lewis Taylor to check that one out first, then head to his second, equally as superb 'Lewis II'.
'Stoned | Part 1' is his third official album release and continues Lewis's unique demonstration of what he terms 'Psychedelic Soul'. Mayfield/Gaye influenced lead vocals in a sea of Beach Boys-esque harmonies, on a bedrock of funky guitars, rhodes-style keyboards, electronic trickery and groovy, authentic sounding drums, in an atmosphere which is usually quite dark and dramatic. Lewis's voice is beautiful, and his guitar playing is clearly that of someone who has spent many an hour jamming along to Hendrix and Page, as well as listening to more sensitive, acoustic and jazzy offerings.
In short - another great slice of unique, contemporary 'soul', but leagues ahead of the boring, derivative, commercialised c#@p we get sold as soul music these days.
Only 4 stars because it's not as good as his first two albums, but by anyone else's standards would deserve 5.