Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sydney Youngblood-Sydney Youngblood (1990)


More evidence that I'm still a youngblood myself when it comes to the 90's dance scene comes by way of this self-titled throwback that was recently added to my music collection. I can't quite pinpoint the first time I'd tuned in to this guy, so I was pretty much drawing first blood, in a way, when my evening of listening last night started off with the pleasant melody and downtempo groove of "If Only I Could". Nothing like an early-90's house groove to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing, especially when there's a distinctively soulful voice with character added to the mix. There's a lot of character alright on the next track, "Don't Keep Me Waiting", where the hip-house beat got me thinking about any number of songs crafted by groups like SNAP!, C & C MUSIC FACTORY and BLACK BOX (and yes, naming those groups has suddenly got me feeling all nostalgic about my teenage years again!). Beyond the beats and the fresh rap break, there's the divalicious lady on backup whose voice puts a loud and lovely accent on the music. The same lady returns later to spice things up on "I'd Rather Go Blind", a gem that is full of earnest words from the heart (I like the theme here of sacrificing the loss of one of your five senses in order to have the one you love) and a mellow , easy-listening sound to coincide with the song's sincerity. Was it that same lady a third time singing side by side with Sidney on "Feeling Free"? They're a perfect match on my favorite dance track on this album, the bold and sassy delivery of the diva contrasting nicely when they take turns performing lines from each verse. I myself was feeling free on "Not Just A Lover But A Friend" (the keyboard accompaniment to the house groove deserves is awesome!) and "Sit And Wait", which has that late-80's feel yet still having that signature rhythm of the 90's. "Ain't No Sunshine" is one that really captivated me. I like how the darkness and gloom of the haunting lyrics is metaphorically reinforced with the suspenseful melody and the unified background vocalists eerily almost sounding like ghosts. And then there's a memorable song that has captivated millions over time: "Kiss And Say Goodbye". I've certainly been hearing a lot of covers of this soul classic that was first coined by THE MANHATTANS back in 1976, my most recent one recorded by the Dutch dance trio TIMELESS. I always look forward to hearing how each new cover of a golden classic will play out, because each rendition offers up something different and unique. Sydney's version is presented in near acapella style; only the subtle ambient drone and the light beatboxing serve as the instrumentals, and it's a combination that works well. And I further congratulate Sydney for his recording of "Congratulations", which is a synthpop delight. Although with me being lost somewhere in my music-listening bliss, I'd forgotten whom he was congratulating on this song and why—an excuse just to tune in again, which will surely lead me to tuning in to the rest of the album again while I'm at it:

1. If Only I Could
2. Don't Keep Me Waiting
3. Not Just A Lover But A Friend
4. I'd Rather Go Blind
5. Sit And Wait
6. Ain't No Sunshine
7. Feeling Free
8. Kiss And Say Goodbye
9. Congratulations
10. Good Times And Bad Times

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