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Nov 1st 2000


Rachelle Ferrell - Individuality (Can it be me?): (Capitol)


After 8 yrs of hiding away from the new material music market  Ms. Ferrell has delighted us all with her triumphant return to the musical spotlight on this her 3rd album Individuality (Can it be me?)

The lady who hails from 'the city of brotherly love' (Philadelphia) was literally overlooked on her last album (the brilliantly self titled Rachelle Ferrell ) which was released in 92 and didn't take off 'til 2 yrs later as radio finally came to its senses and started playing the thing.

This time around Rachelle has again evolved herself as a songstress and a diva as she delivers here in flying colours from start to finish. First up is the title track 'Individuality ' which is a marriage between Jazz and Blues accompanied by Rachelle's beautiful chops right off the bat you knew you were in for a treat. Next up we have the radio ready 'Sista ' a story of a relationship between two women and the merits of happiness that's given then comes the cheeky 'Will you remember me? ' the sordid going ons of relations gone bad followed by the lovely ballad 'I forgive you ' where she takes you on a journey from start to finish with her unique musical style. Other notables include 'Gaia ', 'Satisfied ', 'Run to me ' and the brilliant 'I can explain ' (truly marvelous)

These tracks are symbolic reflections of Rachelle's growth, her maturity as a performer which has blossomed and has taken her craft to the next level, brilliant stuff  - truly top notch from start to finish definitely a Ty-D Pick.






Fertile Ground - Spiritual War: (24-7 Records)


James Collins (aka The Light), Navasha Daya (aka The Spirit) Ekendra Das (aka The Pulse) and Marcus Asante (aka The Roots) form Fertile Ground a quartet that rooted and formed in Baltimore MD (although you would not think it if you heard their music at first glance). 

The group could not get a deal here in the states after releasing their 1st album 'Field Songs ' so they ventured across the pond to London where they secured a deal with 24-7 Records and thus Spiritual War was born. 

The album as a whole bears similar resemblances to Incognito and Inner Shade and in their texture and style of Jazz but the production is excellent quality from start to finish. Very evident is the strength of the tracks which demands your attention, the soulful 'Let the wind blow ' the Latin flavoured 'Peace and Love ' and the lengthy 'Mile Davis' influenced 'My Friend the Moon ' which bears a striking resemblance to Phyllis Hyman in her flight. Other notables here are 'Colours of the Night ', 'Misguided Warrior ' and 'Broken Branches ' This album was originally released in England earlier this year has yet to make it to American soil but there's hope on the horizon if radio formats across the country will wise up and play great music instead of the 'popular'.

Thanks to the lads at www.soul24-7.com for sending this one my way (Alex, Brian, Chris, Bradley, Glenn and the rest of the staff over there at the 'Soul') most definitely a Ty-D Pick.






Hil St Soul - Soul Organic: (Dome)


Zambian-born Hilary Mwelwa is newcomer Hil St Soul who resides as the UK's top female act over the last few years and this her debut set (for Dome records) simply put is .....rated.

First taste is the dance floor mover 'Strictly a vibe thang ' a delightful little number reminisance in some shades of Zhane's 'Groove thang ' followed the cheerful 'Nostalgia ' which borrows from the Diana Ross classic hit Upside Down '. Next up we have 'Just a matter of time ' a kind of soul meets house number which can be easily compared to label mate Lulu's 'Independence' trailing in the shadows is 'Feel Good Factor ' a bubbly and spirited track that's a sheer delight from the word go. Notables include For your love, 'Free Spirit', 'Together ', 'Paradise ' and the remake of the Aretha Franklin classic 'Until you come back to me'.

Don't overlook this one although it's not available here in the states you can visit www.domerecords.co.uk and pick it up. Thanks to Bradley (Soul24-7.com) and Peter Robinson (Dome Records) for sending me a copy of this terrific artist's work. Most definitely a Ty-D Pick.






Sparkle - Told You so: LP (Motown)


Two years ago, the former R. Kelly protégé stunned us with the radio friendly mega-hit 'Be Careful ' (featuring Mr. Kelly himself) taken from her self-titled debut album. This time around she has a new label, a new producer and a new attitude.

'Told you so' is a stronger, more mature outing this time around filled with passion and provocative innuendoes. This is very evident in the first single 'It's a fact', a potent wake up call about the trials and tribulations of deceit with the significant other. The rest of the set has it's moments with the dance floor ready 'Don't know why ' the Donny Hathaway influenced 'The Ghetto ', 'Somebody Else ', 'Games ' and the beautiful ballad 'Lovin' a man ' (which borrows from the Marvin Gaye/Tammy Terrell Classic- 'Your Precious Love') Up and coming producer Steve 'Stone' Huff does double duty as both producer and co-executive producer alongside Motown head Kedar Massenburg.

Sparkle certainly shines her light bright on this her sophomore set which is available now at a record shop or store near you be sure to get yourself a copy and see for yourself - A Ty-D Pick indeed.




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