First, Robin McKelle & The Flytones Soul Flower
is not neo-soul. Neo-soul is what Amy Winehouse was and Cee Lo Green is (at least on his "Forget You"). Neo-soul is a cheeky attempt to cash in on a classic style while, at the same time, not taking it seriously. Second, Soul Flower
might be better termed retro-soul, except that McKelle avoids the pitfall of clinging too tightly to the old style that has plagued other artists trying to put a new spin on the soul canon. A mixture of originals with some clever covers make up Soul Flower
. McKelle is a more than capable composera roll she shares with Sam Barsh (bassist Avishai Cohen
's former pianist).
For any Baby Boomer, Soul Flower
can be eaten with a spoon. It is more Motown than Memphis by way of Muscle Shoals, and smacks of Bobbie Gentry having a pool party with Gladys Knight and the Pointer Sisters. McKelle possesses a contemporary authenticity that manifests in her assimilation of multiple older styles presented with a freshness that has the fragrance of experience re-imagined. Pianist Beat Kaestli Ben Stivers
' use of the electric piano lends this collection of a dozen songs that sound, which is at once retro and chic. This, coupled with McKelle's honesty, makes this a recording that should encourage a reappraisal of period soul and that being made today. And isn't that what all art is supposed to do?
Track Listing: So It Goes; Tell You One Thing; Nothing's Really Changed; Fairytale
Ending; Miss You Madly; Don't Give Up; Walk on By; To Love Somebody;
Change; I'm Ready; Love's Work; I'm a Fool to Want You.
Personnel: Robin McKelle: vocals; Derek Nievergelt: bass; Adrian Harpham: drums;
Ben Stivers: keyboards; Al Street: guitar, Scott Aruda: trumpet; Mike
Title: Soul Flower
| Year Released: 2013
| Record Label: Sony Masterworks