Sunday, September 7, 2014

Gordon-Now Is The Time (1994)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 7, 2014

Anytime is the right time to get newly acquainted with an old artist. Except unbeknownst to me, I would be getting reacquainted with Dutch pop singer, Cornelis Heuckeroth—better known by his stage name, Gordon—when I got comfortable after a couple of hours of early-morning gardening to tune into my copy of his second English album, "Now Is The Time". That's because I finally realized that Gordon was one of the three members of the group called DE TOPPERS, whom I got introduced to a while back when I had the chance to take in a live concert performance where they performed a dazzling remake of Bruce Channel's "Hey! Baby" (which, of course, was featured in the memorable "Dirty Dancing" movie from 1987). Then in addition to that revelation, I discovered that Gerard Joling, whom I'd gotten introduced to at the start of this year and whose music I've now become quite fond of over these past months, was a member of DE TOPPERS, too! It truly amazes me sometimes how these music connections happen. So now that I've reconnected with Gordon, I suppose it's safe to say that I've become quite fond of his solo music all the same—even after just one listen to "Now Is The Time". But it wasn't just any ordinary listen; it was a SPECTACULAR listen! Did you hear me? I may not have noticed just how stunningly soulful that Gordon was singing alongside his buddies Gerard and René in concert, but I surely noticed it right away on the fantastic opener, "We've Got The Power". It's one of those uplifting, motivational songs designed to make a difference for the people that I always like to hear. If you're gonna spread a message, you may as well do it up big and bold and from deep within the soul, as Gordon and the soulicious ladies on backup do in grand fashion! And whoever's playing that piano—he or she deserves a round of an applause for that delicate introductory melody to that great piano-playing during the instrumental bridge. Miraculously, there's even an extended club mix at the end for the dance lovers to jam to, raising an already amazing tune to even heavenlier heights! It's just miraculous that I even waited until I heard the rest of the album first and didn't think to consider jumping straight to that club mix! But I knew I was on a roll, so I just rolled on to "Miracle", the album's first beautiful ballad. This one shines with stellar production from start to finish, as I knew it would the second I took in that starry melody. Things liven back up on "Until The Day Breaks", a second great upbeat number with a touch of r&b in the rhythm this time, plus more of that dazzling piano and the background singers (I especially like the bouncy way that they go 'ba ba ba ba ba ba' in the main chorus). From there, I rolled on to what was the first in a trio of unexpected surprises just on this album alone: Gordon's lovely remake of Taylor Dayne's "Love Will Lead You Back". Isn't this not one of the most romantic soft rock hits of the 80's? This song brings back soooooooooooo many warm memories of my childhood. Although Gordon sounds much more mellow than Taylor and her familiar sultry voice singing the memorable lyrics against the gentle music, it's still a wistfully sweet listen. 'Let your heart beat just for me': that is the line in the lyrics that grabbed hold of me and stayed with me on the album's third ballad, "Let It Be Me". One more amazingly grand performance with more of that sensational soul served up by the backup singers. Second in that trio of unexpected surprises? Gordon's exhilarating remake of the L.T.D. funk classic, "Back In Love Again". Nothing like something with an old-school groove to get you up and going; I'd recognize that distinctive rhythm in the opening movement any day of the week! I've always liked the words to this classic—the idea that, every time he turns around, he's back in love again; not a bad place to be in at all. After a warming of the heart on "Given A Chance", the album's fourth ballad, it's a jump start of the heart on "Beat Of My Heart", which is my #1 favorite of the dance/pop cuts. If you thought the backup singers are great in supporting Gordon on the previous tracks, then they just about bring the house down here, especially at the midway point where they repeat 'beat of my heart, beat of my heart' as part of the main beat drops out for a moment. After delivering yet another grand performance on the heartbreaker ballad, "Walk Away", Gordon invites fellow Dutch singer Karin Bloemen to assist in delivering their pop remake of the Dionne Warwick/SPINNERS classic, "Then Came You"; I'd recognize both the title and that distinctive opening piano beat anywhere! A very good job these two do together, with the screaming of the accompanying saxophone spicing things up. At that point, through the first ten tracks, I had already made up in my mind that Gordon's vocals were absolutely stunning, but it was the show-stopping acoustic piano piece, "Here We Are", that totally capped it all off for me:

1. We've Got The Power
2. Miracle
3. Until The Day Breaks
4. Love Will Lead You Back
5. Let It Be Me
6. Back In Love Again
7. Given A Chance
8. Beat Of My Heart
9. Walk Away
10. Then Came You
11. Here We Are
12. We've Got The Power (Now Is The Time) [Club Mix]

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