How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Phil Perry has spent much of his career amassing a long list of credits as a background singer or a "sideman" vocalist (extensive work with Lee Ritenour, for example). He's released albums under his own name before, but hasn't quite made it into the "household name" category. His latest offering,One Heart One Love, should go a long way towards placing Perry where he belongs, in the same echelon with other romantic, soulful crooners such as Luther Vandross and Peabo Bryson. Perry possesses considerable vocal talent. His elastic voice easily leaps from baritone to an impressive counter-tenor falsetto, inviting comparisons with EWF's Philip Bailey. His delivery often sports the bold, raw edginess of earthy R&B, yet his articulation is always perfectly in control. Every little inflection and ornamentation is tastefully placed.
As the title suggests, romance is the central theme throughout the program. Although the world has heard millions and millions of love songs, what raises this batch above the average is Perry's emotive and passionate delivery. This guy can sell a song! My favorite is Perry's duet with his wife, Lillian, on "Do Not Disturb;" one must have a cold heart indeed to not be 'in the mood' by the time it's over. Perry pleads for forgiveness in the opening tune, "I'm Sorry," and how could one possibly refuse? The CD reaches it's most poignant climax on "Hold On With Your Heart," in which he exhorts: "Hold on with your heart, or let me go / Let feelings fade, or let them show / If I'm losing the best of you, the rest of you / Has got to let me know / Hold on with your heart, or baby let go." I was nearly moved to tears the first time I heard it.
Light a fire in the fireplace, light some candles, pour some wine, and put this gem in your CD player. (Private Music 82163)
Tracks:I'm Sorry; We Belong Together; Do What Comes Natural; Pretty Lady; Do Not Disturb; One Heart One Love; Mind Blowah; Hold On With Your Heart; Born to Love You; Let's Stay Together (48:26)
Phil Perry, lead and background vocals; Lillian Perry, co-lead vocals (on "Do Not Disturb"); James Ingram, Sylva Cox, Tracy Nelson, Yolande Smith, Judith Day, Alice S. Nichels, Valerie Davis, LaToya, Whispers, Magic, Eric Kirkland, Irving Washington III, Lillian Perry, Lynn Davis, Alfie Silas, background vocals; Michael Landau, Morse O'Connell, Bobby Watson, Sly Yates, Tommy, Paul Jackson Jr., guitar; Neil Stubenhaus, Scott Canady, Bobby Watson, Larry Kimpel, bass; Ray Waldman, Grady Wilkins, George Duke, keyboards; Curt Bisquera, David Odom, Michael White, drums; Lenny Castro, Raphael Padilla, percussion; Curtis Williams, drums, percussion, guitar, bass, keyboard, flute; Rickey Smith, David Odom, Grady Wilkins, Magic, drum and keyboard programming; Larry Gittins, flugelhorn; Kal-el Billy Holiday, trombone; Everett Harp, sax.