Saturday, September 6, 2014

George-All The Way (1998)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 6, 2014

'He's like the 90's version of Roger': That was my very first thought when I heard that familiar vocoder being put to use on the opening intro to "All The Way", the first (and I believe only) full-length studio release by George Shahin, a versatile r&b artist who has previously served as a backup singer for fellow r&b singer Lutricia McNeal and a songwriter for the Swedish pop group NEXX. As many old-school r&b lovers know good and well, Roger Troutman was the early pioneer of instrumentalizing the 'voice box'; apparently, some of that DAZZ influence rubbed off on George here, especially towards the beginning. After the smooth intro, it's time to play a little dirty on the album's second cut, where George admits that he wants to 'bump it all night', as part of the lyrics to the main chorus goes. As for me, I could 'bump' to this jam all night, because there's some serious old-school groovin' going on with the rhythm here, enough to make me want to miss 90's r&b all over again! There's a sweet soulful sound coming out of "Give Me Love" that'll give you lots to love while you bump to the trip-hop beat; it's like your Friday night, 7 o'clock drive song. And the lady singing along with George all throughout those sweet three-and-a-half minutes? Simply marvelous. I wonder if she's the same lady heard in the background on the breezy instrumental "Outro" later on..... The old-school groovin' remains in session with plenty of other upbeat jams: "Always", "The Things You Do" (a touch of that new jack swing flavor here, too), "Soulsisstah Girl" (like that stylized spelling of 'soulsister'; when there's a lady who rocks your world like the one George talks about here, you have the right to spell it anyway you want) and a personal favorite of mine, "Up 'N' Down" (the lyrics may get a bit repetitive, but it's the reason why I'm hooked to it—well, that and the way the music swings, plus the way George's voice glides at the singing of 'up and down' in the song's main hook). The voice box makes a reappearance on the mid-tempo cut, "Taken Me To The Limit", another one that sounds so nice on the ears, particularly with the added flute melody. Yet nothing sounds nicer than two of this album's finest slow jams: "Alright", then the one I have nominated as your next 'Slow Jam Of The Night", "Think Of Me". The latter is THE perfect r&b tune when you wanna just sit back and chill out until it's time to turn in for the night, or, perhaps, when you want to put on a romantic touch for that special night in the bedroom. All this, despite the silly, non-scripted dialogue and other crazy antics heard at the very end that seem like were outtakes from out of a recording rehearsal. Then if you'd like to add some hip to your hop, you're treated with a trio of remixes following the instrumental "Outro" that features a healthy dose of rap replacing much of the regular lyrics. Somehow, I suspect playing all of the great jams on George's first CD only once would not be nearly enough, and you can take that statement all the way to the bank:

1. Intro
2. Play
3. Give Me Love
4. Always
5. Taken Me To The Limit
6. Love me All The Way
7. Think Of Me
8. The Things You Do
9. Come A Little Closer
10. Up 'N' Down
11. Tell Me Why
12. Alright
13. Soulsisstah Girl
14. Outro
15 Love Me All The Way (Soulsisstah Remix With Rap)
16. Up 'N' Down (Soulsisstah Version)
17. The Things You Do (Soulsisstah Remix)

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