Sunday, November 18, 2012

Veteran Soul Man Scores Big

Eddie LeVert.  I Still Have It.
Eddie LeVert, 2012.  Available on CD-R through  
Eddie LeVert:

It’s hard to believe that this is LeVert’s first “solo” album.  Working for decades with the O’Jays, and then for too short a time with his sons in LeVert, the Canton native is finally on his own.  Well, not exactly.  He still tours with the O’Jays.  My guess is that this album was something he needed to do, whether as an artist, or to prove something to himself.  Whatever his motivation, the result is a truly fine album of old-style Philly soul music, complete with early 1970s grooves, wah-wah, and heavy on the keyboards.

Eddie’s voice is still excellent, a little raspier perhaps than in his early days, sometimes even growly, but it gives him an air of authority that a younger man couldn’t pull off, much like older blues singers.  The opening couple of tracks are killers.  The mid-tempo burner, “Last Man Standing,” shows him at his most powerful, with heartfelt lyrics and memorable, catchy hooks (You can also catch the video on his web page).  “Get Over It” continues the groove, but with a love theme.  LeVert does some Edwin Starr-style grunting, and the song builds nicely to a climax that makes it perfect for a single.  After these, many of his songs are slower love ballads, awash with keyboards, echo, synths, and background vocalists.  Each one is a gem.  These are interspersed with more mid-tempo tunes, such as “Don’t Get Much Better” and “Don’t Lie to Me.”  He uses just about every musical trick in the book, and it never gets tiring.  “Hate’n” is the sole high-energy tune, and it’s a fine one, with riffs reminiscent of early Jackson 5.

LeVert surrounds himself with excellent musicians and backup singers.  He seems to rely on the singers a tad much, although they are really good, so it’s hard to complain.  I wish I knew who they were.  The unfortunate thing about the release at this point is that releases the physical product as a CD-R with a generic cover that is worthless in terms of information.  The lack of notes is infuriating, however, a little homework tells us that the the songs were all written and produced by Eddie, and was mixed by Tom Moulton, a veteran producer.  Get the music any way you can.  If you love 70s-style soul, you’re likely to love this album.

Performers:  Eddie LeVert, with accompanying musicians and singers.
Tracks:  Last Man Standing, Get Over It, Lonely, Blown Away, I Like the Way You Move, What If, Don’t Get Much Better, All About Me and You, I Don’t Want to be the One, Don’t Lie to Me, Hate’n, You’re Always There.


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