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5.0 out of 5 stars A Smorgasbord of Soul, 6 Jan 2013
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Simon (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Northern Soul 2011 (Audio CD)
It has been 2 long years since we have heard any new songs by Ian Levine. To his fans this has been an unbearable delay. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for Levine, who is one of the most prolific songwriters of his generation.

You can lay the blame on any number of things: The undeserved failure of his Inju5tice boy band project; the technological revolution that undermined the financial model of the record industry or even the infantilisation of popular music. What it comes down to, however, is that not enough soul music fans buy his recordings. That is the true injustice.

Admonishments over, an open mind will relish the veritable smorgasbord on offer here. There is an even split between the more traditional 60s northern sound and the lusher, more funky orchestrations that Levine helped introduce to the scene in the 70s.

You couldn't ask for stronger opening tracks. Angelo Starr, who shares his brother Edwin's vocal prowess, opens with the stomper Conquer the World. Venicia Wilson, a long-time fan favourite, adds to her reputation with Standing on the Sidelines. Track four sees The Flirtations, five decades after their debut, still hitting the spot with You pulled a Fast One. And the legendary Pat Lewis, with one of three tracks on the CD, puts One Foot before the Other.

Further down the track listing come some of my favourite tracks. Lyn Jarrard sings Shadows of a Fool. Her rich and powerful vocals drive this mid-tempo finger-snapper.

Tahira Jumah, another familiar Centre City name, claims the honours for the sweetest song of the series with I Guess It doesn't Matter any More. Her delicate vocals are the perfect complement for this Pat Lewis co-write.

On this release a number of vocalists give what I believe to be their finest ever performances. For her fourth track for Ian Levine, Jennifer Dee gets to grips with a real foot-stomper with Misunderstood. Then Earnestine Pearce of the Flirtations lets rip with the frantic Snowflakes. And Peter Lamarr takes it to the stratosphere with All the Way to the Top. Fabulous.

Gong for the best track? For me, it's Mistaking My Kindness by Gina Foster, a gorgeous Philly-styled, disco-influenced dancer that could have come out of PIR in its heyday.

So there we are. If you've come across this review and are not familiar with Levine's music, these are top quality songs, soul-drenched, from one of the finest song writers around. Each will repay repeated listening. You can also check out Northern Soul 2012, released concurrently with this album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Proceed to buy with confidence!, 8 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Northern Soul 2011 (Audio CD)
This cd starts out very strong, continues in the same vein and does not disappoint. Very refreshing to hear some 'new' northern soul, written by a veteren of the scene. Recommended and all credit to all who were involved, well done!
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