This collection of love songs, both traditional and newly penned by the man himself, is one of my favourite albums. I'm no expert on Qawwali, or even on Nusrat Fateh Ali-Khan, coming to this album via a friend's recommendation rather than personal knowledge, but I was an instant convert. From the moment I listened to this it blew my socks off. From the amazing vocal sweeps and melodies to the rhythm and confidence of the instruments, everything on this album makes you want to sing along (frustrating when you don't speak a word of Urdu or Farsi!). Take a minute to look at the sleevenotes as well. Titles whose translations reveal the real romance (and humour) at the heart of Persian/Pakistani culture will help round out perceptions of an area that is anything but famous for those qualities at the moment.
This album was my first Qawwali CD purchase in 1998 of Nusrat and as someone who listened to Bollywood filmi/pop songs - I was inquisitive on the title of the album: "Love Songs". To my surprise - when I heard the track "Yaadan Vichhre Sajan Dian Aiyan" which is translated as: `My eyes shed tears in memory of a loved one who has departed'. I was hooked! This was then followed by track 5 entitled in English as: `At every beat of my heart thoughts of you come flooding' was very reminiscent of any pop song in the mainstream western cultural pop scene. This track is also a Punjabi Bhajan (Religious devotional) song from a Hindu viewpoint of a woman in Love with Lord Krishna that she names him on every bead of her rosary and has lost her own identity as a result. The final track entitled: `Un Ke Dar Pen Pohchne To Payen' translated as: "What shall I do when I reach my beloved's doorstep? Don't ask for I shall not tell you!" reminded me of "Nit Khair Mansan Sohnia Main Teri" translation: "My beloved, I have only one prayer - that you may live happily' with lyrics like `Since I fell in love with you I have forgotten about the whole world - I wish to only to die at your feet', is from the Shahen-Shah album.
Probably, because the lyric of `Nit Khair Mansan Sohnia Mian Teri' mentions `to die at your feet' and the precursor being at your `doorstep' from the Love songs track 6! You maybe wondering, what about the first three tracks? Well, I found these to be powerful in that they blended in with the Harmonica, Mandolin and Guitar work very well.
To sum up, this album was compelling in that I wanted to listen to some more of Nusrat's recordings. My advice on what other similar Nusrat albums - are a logical follow on from Love Songs CD, I can suggest Mustt Mustt (Lost in his work) recorded in 1990. The Mustt Musst album was a ground-breaking achievement by Nusrat & here instruments from different continents were inter-mixed with Michael Brook's invention of `the infinite guitar' and the obvious inclusion of Bass & Keyboards. This later culminated in the 1995 sequel to Musst Musst - through "Night Song" which the CD sleeve described as: `The potent relationship reaches compelling emotional heights with the sequel to Mustt Musst'. A must buy for world music & crossover fans.