Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lalah Hathaway Outrun the Sky Review

Check out this great review of our 2004 release Outrun the Sky with Lalah Hathaway from soulexpress.net:

LALAH HATHAWAY: – Outrun The Sky
(US Mesa / Bluemoon, 2004)
How Many Times - Back Then - Your Favourite Song - Forever, For Always, For Love - Better And Better - Outrun The Sky - If U Ever - In The End - Admit It - Stronger - We Were 2 - More - Boston

This beautiful Lady has been off the scene for far too long in my opinion, and I therefore review this with great pleasure. She is a shining star in my humble opinion and a daughter that her dear, late father would be supremely proud of. Although it is a pleasure to receive a new CD from this Lady it is possibly the patchiest album that we have yet had delivered to us. Saying this, though, I am certain that this set sees her produce her best work EVER, and if you have both previous efforts then that is saying something.

This really is a varied album, plying itself in a few unusual directions and appealing to more than one taste of music. This is handled far better than the effort of Adriana Evans earlier this year, and holds more water as a result. There are very good, if not extraordinary, R&B orientated cuts such as "How Many Times", "Your Favorite Song" and "Better And Better" which are produced by Mike City - he of Sunshine Anderson fame, if you remember. Perhaps not!

However the first song really is a grower and should not be disregarded lightly. Chris Parks adds a few songs and these are OK, I think "Back Then" is the best on here, and its funky guitar and lively shuffling gait has some promise. "Back Then" would be great but is spoiled by some daft keyboard affects that detract from the general funkiness, and "Admit It" is just too rocky for my particular taste and a bit too much to the left. But that's just me.

Those of you who purchased the compilation "For Ever, For Always, For Luther" will own the competent cover of "Forever, For Always, For Love " so I will not elaborate here. What I do want to do, though, is shout from the rooftops about four songs, starting with Lalah's own composition, "Outrun The Sky". This is very tasty indeed, and what Lalah creates here is a song that marks her out as a serious artist and writer as well as sensuous singer. This has a beautiful acoustic feel and slight AOR leanings but is essential. The lyrics are very intricate and show other lackaday writers about how a song should be crafted.

Very warm and satisfying that may be, but I was absolutely flabbergasted by the ENORMOUS ballad, "If U Ever". Now, I am still reeling over Gary J's "Completely" (and others!) and to have this blasting out really was too much! I immediately had the shivers and the spine had the old chills going up it. I give parity to this sublime song as the same vein as George Benson's "I'm Calling You" or Womack & Womack's "Long Time". This song is just amazing but the surprise is the choice of instruments. Now, I am not partial at all to Country & Western steel guitar but this underpins the squeezebox and is so haunting that I am doubly taken aback. I feel that this constitutes one of the most beautiful records Lalah Hathaway has plied us to date.

I would recommend buying this for "If U Ever" alone, but imagine my joy to discover the KILLER "More". This is jazzy soul heaven at its very best. I defy anyone to not adore this track; real instrumentation is the order of the day and again this constitutes Lalah's own writing of paramouncy above all other contributors. I would certainly like to see more of this in the future. Again, the CD price is worth it for THIS track alone, too, and if this is not enough Lalah leaves the last song to drop the real killer on us. "Boston" is a spine tingler and then some. This is equal to the superb material on Brenda Russell's "Paris Rain" effort and as such the haunting melody and melancholy simply overpower you. Oh, what a song, and showcases how much sheer talent this beautiful Lady has.

Why oh why do artists such as these release albums that slip quietly away unnoticed by the moronic R&B press when the likes of Missy Elliott get all the attention. Criminal and unbelievable. This Lady has given me a lot of emotion from this album and I cannot recommend it enough, rocky influences aside. Another worthwhile track is the Vivienne McKone / Brenda Russell-ish "Stronger", which is slightly AOR but completely and utterly a must-have! A mandatory purchase for any of the five aforementioned songs.
- Barry Towler

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