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Straight down the line soul brother...,
This review is from: Stone Rollin' (Audio CD)
Raphael Saadiq is forty six years old. That fact alone will be enough for many soul music fans of a certain vintage to take a sharp intake of breath. I suppose you might draw a little solace from his unduly youthful appearance (or then again maybe not...) But of course first you would have to know who he is, because this guy has spent much of his prolific career somewhat under the radar.
Guiltily, it's taken me a while to catch up to his latest release Stone Rollin, but I'm mighty glad I have. On first listen it seems a relatively straightforward continuation of the `neo-soul' style genre he's already helped establish, covering all the usual bases - jazzy swing, strutting blues and Motown sugary sweetness - a quick listen might make you think many are indeed mere pastiches, but settle down and pretty soon a unique specialness begins to emerge...
There's a very intelligently crafted sonic continuity running throughout, acting to bind some apparently disparate strains together, which makes it that rarest of modern beasts - an album that demands you listen to the whole damn thing... And `Down the Line' is a track that would take gold in any era.