Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Joe Roberts-Looking For The Here And Now ‎(1993)


Looks like I've found what I've finally been looking for! Or, more accurately, it looks like it's found me! Among my recently fulfilled wishes—and something else that caught my attention when exploring the music databases for more lost goodies to add to my 90's music collection—is the one and only known album by British singer Joe Roberts who, up until yesterday, stood as another music mystery to join the legions of other artists who have already faded into the depths of pop obscurity. So while my eyes investigated the limited bits of information regarding his professional career in cyberspace, my ears browsed through all eleven of the recordings he made in time for his 1993 release.....and then some. Never having heard this guy sing before and not knowing what to expect both contributed to my instant adoration and sense of refreshment the moment the bouncy beat of the uptempo opener "Back Into My Life" swooped down into my own music life! That's when I would get introduced to the high and lofty side of his versatile voice, an instrument that eerily reminded me so much of that of the late iconic music legend who abruptly left this world only a few days ago—Prince. Surely, a big-time hit back its day, and there's a gazillion remixes of this one track to prove exactly that! Got my hands on nearly a dozen of them, a favorite of mine being the 'David Morales Classic Mix' with the added backup vocals constantly chanting 'back in my life' and 'come back to me' with a groovy house rhythm to boot! Coincidentally, it seems, the spirit of Prince influenced what would become my latest 'Music Surprise Of The Day'. While scanning through the productions notes of this album, I'd see that Track #4's "Adore" was written by Prince; in fact, further investigation led me to realize that the eclectic musician who made "Purple Rain a hit back in 1984 was the original performer of "Adore" himself! Hmmm.....I must've missed out on that one years ago, as the original can be found on Prince's "Sign 'O' The Times" album. No memory of the lyrics at all, but listening to this Joe Roberts rendition in its slow groove format here, I can tell it was definitely something Prince would pen and record, being familiar with the late legend's writing and vocal style and all. It may be a cover song, but this Joe Roberts does it over remarkably well, and it's one of a handful of offerings where he wows me with his unexpectedly stunning vocals rising high and mighty above the music as the song breezes along. And the others wrapped in that same hand? There's "Let The Love Come On", which starts with Joe's voice nice and soft and lofty, then becomes stunningly powerful and gritty and soulful. Before long, I was saying to myself, "I think I just found my latest 'Slow Jam Of The Night' ". Except it's sooooooooooooooo short—at least for me, anyway, as I wanted to bask a while longer in all of the marvelous artistry. Felt a bit shorted also on another wonderful gem: "I Miss You". Knew this would be a sad song right from the title, and the tonality of the cinematic beginning, accented by the delicate piano, only confirmed that notion Very touching and sentimental with lots of real emotion put on display all throughout, the sounds of the quiet backup voices joining in with the 'baby, I miss you' giving it that extra special glow. If only it had played on longer like some of the previous songs...... Which brings me back to Track #2's "Lover", another charming masterpiece. It's a message of dedication to his baby, and you can feel every one of the aching words that are sung. A perfect choice it would be for the soft rock radio channels, given its easy-listening flow. "Innocence" soothes the soul further before it eventually explodes into a funky party with the vocal outburst of the ladies busting out with 'yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah' adding some sizzling zing. And one not to lose sight of at all: "Losing You"; this extra cut found on select four-track single releases of "Back In My Life" is a fine r&b jam where more of that burning Joe Roberts passion breaks through. Wasn't the surprise cover of THE BEATLES classic that I had expected from looking at its title, but the uniquely-penned "Come Together" did surprise me in another way: a trip back to the dance floor with its simple uptempo house-style rhythm. That trip becomes an extended voyage with the energetic cut, "Love Is Energy", plus the slew of dance remixes that I absolutely had to have once I became aware of their existence (it was still some of that techno/trance/electronic music lover in me from the past few days prompting me to go crazy and get all of the remixes I could find). So what started off as a projected 50+ minute adventure with this British soul singer eventually turned into a 2+ hour music extravaganza; is that what you were looking for. too?

1. Back In My Life
2. Lover
3. Come Together
4. Adore
5. I Miss You
6. Real Stuff
7. Innocence
8. Water
9. Let The Love Come On
10. Love Is Energy
11. Be Free

*****BONUS TRACKS*****

12. Back In My Life (Radio Version)
13. Back In My Life (Classic 7")
14. Back In My Life (Def Mix #2)
15. Back In My Life (Bad Yard Club)
16. Back In My Life (Beloved Vocal Mix)
17. Back In My Life (Justavibed & Breathless)
18. Back In My Life (T-Empo Classic 12")
19. Back In My Life (David Morales Classic Mix)
20. Lover (2010 K-Klass Remix)
21. Lover (K-Klass Club Mix Edit)
22. Lover (Ti.Pi.Cal. City Light Remix)
23. Lover (Big Bump Mix)
24. Love Is Energy (The Tune)
25. Adore (Red Jerry Mix)
26. Love Is Energy (DOP Dub)
27. Losing You

No comments: