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Issue 1094

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Review

Cornell C.C. Carter: Absoulutley (CDC Productions)

Cornell Carter: Absoulutely (CDC Productions)

10

6.3

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UK release date 04.10.2019

After receiving universal critical acclaim for one of last year's best soul albums, "One Love", Cornell C.C. Carter picks up exactly where his last album's runaway success ends by releasing not only one of the best soul releases of this year, but maybe even THE best, in the shape of exquisite soul long player, "Absoulutely". Carter is an artist who hit his recording sweet spot on this release, his 4th studio album, and he positively excels on his latest effort while revelling in giving soul fans exactly what they want…100% unadulterated golden soaked soul. If you like soul music, you will absolutely love this album.

You could say, Carter has picked up certain vocal elements from soul heroes past and present, mixed them together, while at the same time adding his own distinct flavour. There's Marvin, The Impressions, EW&F's Maurice White and even John Legend tones and inflexions which can all be gleaned from this release but what is more impressive, there is also a lot of Cornell C.C. Carter too! To think for years this artist was 20 feet from stardom for many stars/superstars, but you get the feeling when listening to this album that Cornell wasn't just backing those greats, he was learning his craft and is now giving his own stand-out soul performance.

This album features 2 covers, both potentially tricky to pull off if the artist's performance is even a fraction off, due to both being well known and originally performed by true icons of soul. The first, Marvin Gaye's succulent soul classic "Come Live With Me", which Gaye wrote with a dream-like sequence playing out in his psyche - that he would ask his girl to run away with him and he would disappear from all the trappings of stardom. It's cool credentials are undeniable and Carter rubber-stamps that with a performance, I'm sure, the Prince Of Soul would have defiantly endorsed. The Impressions classic "We're A Winner" makes it a divine double with again, Carter paying this track the full respect it deserves. Both tracks don't sound too far off the originals, in fact, close you're eyes and if you didn't know the originals well, you may think this was Gaye and Mayfield performing at their peak, they are that good! It's not a copy, by the way, it's a homage…an exceptional one, at that!

The covers are not the only exceptional tracks on this album, you can put this must-have on random play and not be disappointed with what your player selects. Exquisite opener "Say Yes" has a deftly cool Maurice White vocal vibe, "I See Love" comes complete with feel-good strings and divine harmonies, "Earn It" draws you into Keith Sweat in his heyday stylee and leaves you singing the chorus long after (days after!) it concludes, "I Could Never" has a BB&Q Band "Genie" type opening and then opens out in a pure 80's electro-soul style, slow-jam "Ever Since" showcases Carter's authentic soul talent perfectly as his distinct vocal weaves in and out of the album's consistently opulent production.

A John Legend sounding "Love Thang" provides yet another sing-along stunner, "Morning Touch" excels with impressive production and exquisite harmonies care of supremely talented Nate’ Soulsanger, which in turn, let's Carter's majestic vocal dip and soar to while accompanied by James Day's trademark authentically lush production.

Lastly, probably my favourite on the album, if you push me, "Ghosted" has it all for me and sums up the album perfectly. It's a track you remember for all sorts of reasons… it's ridiculously catchy chorus "there's nothing like being Ghosted, let's face it!" Its hat tipping toward sci-fi classic series the "Twilight Zone" fits perfectly with its up-to-date subject matter of being, "Ghosted". Which is what happens when someone who you think is into you suddenly breaks of contact for no reason, apparently - yep, that's what they call it! It's a track who's novelty makes it stand out, but when you add Carter's vocal, it takes it to a whole new level. One of the best albums this year without a doubt, which also sees Cornel Carter at the top of his game. An exceptional album from an exceptional artist, I can confirm absoulutely!
Words LEE TYLER

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