Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Keith Martin-It's Long Overdue (1995)


From one marvelously-soulful Martin to another Martin.who's just as soulfully marvelous—the same devoted blog follower who had recommended that I listen to Filipino phenom Martin Nievera six years ago had also brought the American r&b singer Keith Martin to my attention. Coincidentally, both artists enjoyed success in the blog follower's native Philippines, from what I leaned, and just as I finally fulfilled some long-overdue curiosity with Martin Nievera's "My Souvenirs" keepsake, I fulfilled the same destiny with Keith's 1995 debut. It was a song I had no recollection of ever having heard before that had made this once-unknown-to-me r&b singer the instant sensation that he was over in the Far East decades ago: "Never Find Someone Like You". I can clearly see why now; this beautiful opening ballad, which totally sounds like a lot of the easy-listening tunes presented on the OPM circuit, is a fine specimen of adult contemporary r&b. Right away, I declared this man to be a very respectable singer, taking special note of the excellent carry and range in his vocals, particularly when they became high and lofty towards the song's closing movements. There was no reason at all to stop listening at that point; "Any Kind Of Reason" sparked my senses further with its instantly-appealing arrangement in the opening moments, followed by the warming ballad celebrating the triumph of finding love that is "Somehow .... Someway...:, which triumphs altogether with Keith's powerful vocal delivery as the music climaxes and fades out in the end. If it feels so 'good, then why does it hurt so bad?' That lengthy interrogative is the message and primary theme on this album's fabulous fourth track, which I found to be just as striking and OPM-music-circuit qualified as the "Never Find Someone Like You" hit that made him so attractive to the Filipino audience. As for the ones that were a big-time hit for me here..... "Moment In Time" captivated me the moment I took in the cinematic orchestral opening and its whole mellow tenderness—another one of those magical 'forever' types of songs with the endless chorus that I could keep playing on and on into and through the night. "Think Of You All The Time" is one of those songs with only the backing orchestral cinematics and light guitar that enables a soulicious singer's voice to be heard crystal clear; here, Keith puts on an dazzling display in what, at that point, I had declared as the most stunning performance of all! But it would get equally matched by the amazing piano ballad and romantic tribute that is "Because Of You", with the superbly-produced, jazzed-up concluding tribute, "Knocks Me Off My Feet", deserving a place on the same pedestal of distinction. Besides my own socks being knocked off by these marvelous Martin slow jams, I would find find just as much delight in hearing his dynamite vocals on the uptempo jams as well, particularly when he's fronting "Give It Up" and, a personal favorite, "L.O.V.E. Love", where there's some serious new jack swing groovin' goin' as he breaks it down hard on what love is supposed to be all about:

1. Never Find Someone Like You
2. Any Kind Of Reason
3. Somehow ... Someway ...
4. If Love Feels So Good (Why Does It Hurt So Bad?)
5. One Mile From Paradise
6. Moment In Time
7. Operator
8. Forever Will Be (The Wedding Song)
9. Give It Up
10. You'll Never Be Alone
11. Real Love
12. L.O.V.E. Love
13. Think Of You All The Time
14. Because Of You
15. Knocks Me Off My Feet

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