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Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Showship [2021] - Soul School, Vol. 1 [Showship Records] (Full Album)


Only a few weeks ago (28 Jul) I posted "The Greatest Part Of Loving You" as a promo track from Showship's forthcoming album "Soul School, Vol. 1". The full album is now released on Monday (23 Aug 2021).  

The man behind Showship is Adell Shavers who was with a group  called Straight Jacket in the the late 70s and the promo was a new version of a Straight Jacket track released on his Showboat label in 1979. The new version features lead vocals from Beth Griffith who is the daughter of Funk Brother Johnny Griffith. 

Aside from that track, the killer track is "You Put A Smile On My Face" (which sounds very familiar for some reason, although it appears to be an original song written by Shavers). Lynn Fiddmont leads on this track.

Other standouts include the jazzy "Whispers" featuring the jazz trumpet of Rayse Biggs and vocals of Gloria Ridgeway. Gloria Ridgeway was a member of trio Sweet Cream in the 70s with her two sisters Esther and Gracie who released an album "Sweet Cream & Other Delights" in 1979 (probably better known for it's cover image than the music!) They were also known as The Ridgeways who supported Gene Dunlap in the 80s (their brother Tommie also appeared on Dunlap's only album). The Ridgeway Sisters were sought after session singers. Gloria has featured on albums by Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Nancy Wilson, Randy Crawford, Oleta Adams and Regina Belle to name just  few of the major artists. 

The album features up and coming as well as established artists. It kicks off with a sax led instrumental titled "Catherine Thinking", a song written by Shavers in memory to his mother which, to me, sounds like it has elements of "I Who Have Nothing".

All in all a sold album of old school soul tunes.

Here are the sleeve notes:

1 - Catherine Thinking Dedicated to the memory of my Mother. Imagine being led by the ocean watching the sunset or enjoying a long drive. This is  a song you can relax and reflect with… It features Dave McMurray on sax and my neighborhood friend, the late Al McKenzie on piano.

2 - The Greatest Part of Loving You is that driving beat you can step to. That pulsating bass, those fiery vocals from Beth, and the soaring sax Dave McMurray's. You can't help but dance - you gotta dance.

3 - Baby Shower personifies what Soul School is about - coming together. It’s about Love. It’s a celebration of Life. ”It’s all About Giving ‘

4 - Dusk Till Dawn is a sultry song written and sung by Kimberly Brewer. It'll give you the vision of a hot steamy night with sensitive sax solo by Dave McMurray dancing in-between vocals that'll make you beg for more.

5 - Smile On My Face What a wonderful way to start the day. Engulfing vocals  surround you as Lynn Fiddmont chimes in with her sensuous voice singing, “Tell somebody how good you make me feel.”

6 - Honey They say you don't miss your water until your well runs dry. Harry Bowens tells the story of someone who comes to realize he lost a good thing. Now she’s gone and he has learned his lesson well. Featuring Rayse Biggs on the horns.

7 - If Love Rules Your Heart Jessica Vautor  sings all about love and its all love. Some things are in in French as it’s the language of Love - intertwined with Dave McMurray and Rayse Biggs giving that New Orleans style of soloing.

8 - Whisper has that Afro-Latin feel with Gloria Ridgeway whispering in your ear and the heated trumpet of Rayse Biggs dancing all through the groove.

9 - We Could Be Lovers is the story of meeting that person for the first time and feeling that connection.  'We could be more, so much more.' I called on my Midnight Sky brothers, featuring Donald Ray Mitchell, delivering this powerful message.

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Details
Rating: 8.4
Genre/Style: Classic Soul
Format: Album
Media: Digital
Label: Showship Records
Cat No: None
Date: 23/08/2021
Value: £7.99

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