Friday, January 13, 2017

Gerry DeVeaux-Rhythm & Love (1994)


Flying high on the wings of my almighty adventures with Filipino phenom, Martin Nievera, and the American star, Keith Martin, my easy-listening soul journey continued last night with a third accomplished male solo singer who too came as highly recommended to me. I'm more than two decades behind the rest of the popular music audience in experiencing the world of Mr. Gerry DeVeaux; my first step in catching up and getting acquainted with him was formally checking out this fine solo debut entitled "Rhythm & Love". And 'rhythm' and 'love' it is indeed—the smooth jazz and r&b swings of the music arrangements being the rhythm, the poetic and thoughtful words he has to say on every song being the love; Gerry's exotic voice binding the two forces together. 'Ooh yeah, this guy sings good!' was my immediate thought upon taking in the very first words of the opening verse to "Don´t Take Back (Your Love)", and I kept that notion in mind when I enjoyed the jam-packed attraction that is "Come Into My Life (Make It Better)", where I would find myself so busy groovin' to the beat and the sexy saxophone that saving this one to my 'Pop Mix' playlist for continued groovin' later was something that I was absolutely determined to do! It was the jams like that one, plus Track #8's "Give Me A Little Love", "There Goes My Heart" (I like how his vocals of the chorus echo with every delivery of ' if you want to run with it, it's all yours ') and "Good Thing Going On" that make me reminisce on all of the wonderful times I had as a devoted listener to the local smooth jazz radio station. Then there are the sunny feel-gooders—the breezy ride song, "Never Giving Up", "People Together", the concluding song of eternal promise that is "No Better Love", and the delicate slow piece, "Wake Up With You"—that really warm the soul. I had predicted that "Heaven Help" would be a haunting piece about requiring divine intervention for something he's struggling with emotionally; turns out to be the exact reverse and not as deep, as it's a plea to help the woman who ends up being attached to him instead. "Heaven Help" deserves being put on the spotlight because I deemed it as one of Gerry's best here, his vocals so rich and crystal clear. Though it's those same vocals that took me some getting used to on what was my latest 'Music Surprise of The Day': his cover of the old STAPLE SINGERS classic, "I'll Take You There". I'm so used to the collectively powerful and gritty chords of the lady who performs some of the leads, boasting 'oh I, oh I' between verses and 'help me, help me' in the chorus above the backup singers who are delivering the title lyrics. This Gerry DeVeaux modernized, low-key funky remake, however, still appeals, and so does the smooth groove and everything else featured on foreign language track, "Voci Les Ces" (is that French or Italian?), despite me not understanding hardly a word of it. My first step almost complete (I have to treat myself to some replays to "Come Into My Life (Make It Better)" and, perhaps, a few of my other favorite selections), I look forward to extending this soulful journey with Gerry's second solo effort, "Back To You":

1. Don´t Take Back (Your Love)
2. Come Into My Life (Make It Better)
3. Heaven Help
4. Never Giving Up [Devox Mix]
5. There Goes My Heart
6. Good Thing Going On
7. People Together
8. Give Me A Little Love
9. Voici Les Cles
10. I'll Take You There
11. Wake Up With You
12. No Better Love
13. Heaven Help [Nassau To Tokyo Mix]
14. Never Giving Up [Original Version]

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