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Sept 15th 2004

 

Did it her way, literally - Lizz FieldsLizz Fields - I Gotta Go: (P-Vine, Japan)

 

The mecca of the modern soul/neo soul talent pool seems to be the city of Brotherly Love these days. In light of the recent return of Jill Scott and her long-awaited sophomore set, Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol.2 and The Roots - Tipping Point grabbing headlines, there is another Philly native thats making a name for herself although on a much quieter scale but nevertheless just as important. Her name is Lizz Fields and you might be saying to yourself 'who?' but don't who but 'Wow'

Now don't get me wrong as she's not trying to be the next Jill Scott of the neo-soul generation but Lizz has a style all her own very evident once you listen to her music. Her ambition to be a singer started as a young girl. Her start as it is for any a up and coming singer came in the gospel arena where she would sing in her church. During high school she was proned to being teased about her voice and it was here that she ventured into jazz vocal. The freedom to have various sounds and vocal styles and ranges at her beckoning appealed to the young singer who would now find the courage to move to Brooklyn to find work.

It was here that things would happen for her as she tells it ''I was working in a furniture store while I was recording in Philly, and I would come back to Brooklyn to where I worked and I would pop in my CD and people would hear it while they were buying furniture and they would ask me about it. I was like I donít have a record deal, Iím not doing anything with it. But then one day I just thought to myself, "hmm, wonder if I can compile all the music I have so far and see if I can sell it", literally burn it to CD-R, print out my own artwork. So I burned two, and I sold two the following day. Then the next day I burned four and sold those, and it just kept getting bigger and bigger. The next thing I know Iím filling in orders for independent retailers throughout the US and then it trickled over to the UK and other parts of Europe, and Japan. It became an album. Initially I just considered it just maybe songs for a demo, just trying like everyone else to get a record deal. But then I saw that just putting it out myself, people were really receptive to it, enjoyed it, and it just became an album''

All in all, she would sell some 13,000 copies from her making CDRs and she would quit her job at the furniture shop to focus on her music full time. With that kind of momentum going for her, the next step was evident to get a deal and that she did with Unisex and the rest is history as they say.

The track on review here today is the soothing mid-tempo number 'I Gotta Go'. Written by Lizz and produced by Damian, the song incorporates a mellow yet smooth almost like a meditation type stance on the soul music scene with Lizz's dynamic vocals catching the essence of both worlds of jazz and soul. Musically the production is solid not much to be inproved upon (except maybe a remix from a key personal in the industry), lyrically you see where she is coming from from a woman's prospective and shows a maturity in her words that gives depth and charactor in some instances.

A terrific debut from a singer who's excellent really shines on all levels of her work. One not to miss out on I promise you You can get the album at Amazon or SamGoody - A TY-D Pick (period)

Listen to Lizz Fields - 'I Gotta Go'

Sir TY

 

 

 

 

 

Lovely Renindition - Boyz 2 MenBoyz II Men - Throwback Vol.1 :LP (Koch Records)

 

For most artists who's been in the industry for some years, they feel compelled to pay tribute to music that inspired them, that they listened to while growing up in their respective neighbourhoods and countries and while there's nothing wrong with that, for most it's best left as untested waters.

I'm a very testy individual when it somes to such remakes or reninditions of classic tracks of yesteryear. Most of the time, in these cases, the original is not given the respect or the proper merit to warrent such an undertaking but then again there are exceptions in some instances. Such is the case for the latest batch of reninditions by none other than the lads we know as Boyz 2 Men.

Initially a quintet (Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman, Wanya Morris, Michael McCary and Marc Nelson) then a quartet Marc Nelson left for greener pastures (he later joined Az Yet) and now a trio (Michael McCary has left), the Philly natives (yep there's that city of brotherly love connection again) has put together an array of songs that has sugnificent meaning in their lives at some point or another (hense the title of the album).

On the whole, the album features the usual norm for today's rhythic formula - the cookie-cutter R&B beats and pumped up production but then there are exceptions to highlight: the all-acoustic version of Michael Jackson's 'Human Nature', (that features City High's Claudette Ortez), the feel good Philly soul groove of Teddy Pendergrass's 'Close the Door' not to forget the propelling reincarnation of Hall and Oakes 'Sara's Smile'.

Notables include The Stylistics 'You Make Me Feel Brand New' and Bobby Caldwell's 'What you won't do for Love' (that featues the distinctive rap barones of one MC Lyte). All in all a stellar effort from the Boyz and one that I'm sure will be pleasing to their fans.

The album is available now at a record store near you or at the following fine record shops (free standing or online) Amazon, Sam Goody, FYE or Dusty Groove. Another TY-D Pick for your listening ear

Listen to Boyz ll Men - 'Close the Door'

Listen to Boyz ll Men - 'Let it Whip'

Sir TY

 

 

 

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