Personal Life: Morning Light (Expansion Records)
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UK release date 08.07.2013
I took a stroll through a farmer’s market near my home yesterday. Everything was so fresh, people associate the place with quality, and we know exactly where everything comes from. A bit like certain record labels, such as London’s premier soul sellers “Expansion Records.” Respected for their discerning taste and consistent quality control.
So they ain’t gonna be too keen to put out any old tosh are they? Luckily for them, on their doorstep is Canadian producer, songwriter and musician Robert Strauss and his Wax Studios. He put together the classy jazz-soul collective “Personal Life.” Made up of Strauss, singer and songwriter Stuart Lisbie and core members of the late Amy Winehouse’s touring band, Xantoné Blacq and Nathan Allen.
Their debut album, “Morning Light” is old skool classic soul sounds with a jazz flavour, made by real people, playing real instruments, singing and playing real songs direct from the heart and from the soul. Pretty spiritually uplifting stuff, and sung by a classic soul voice in the form of talented geezer Stuart Lisbie.
He nods to all the greats, but is doing it now in 2013 and is his own man. Put me in mind of Ola Onabule a few times on this record. Not a bad thing. His tone and control are a joy to the ole lug holes, and his partners in crime are not too shabby either. He has spoken about being “off in the zone” when he is singing.
This whole thing is well in the zone, people. The 10 here open with “Bring It Back,” and closes with “There’s A Time For Everything.” Well, Personal Life are bringing back good soul music and there sure is always a time for that, eh? Soul perfect for the summer time and your tops off ladies and gents (on the car, on the car!)
Words SIMON REDLEY