Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Leon Bridges - Coming Home (2015)


  

Released June 2015

Recorded in Forth Worth, Texas

2015 was one hell of a year for revivalists - The London Souls, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and this, Leon Bridges' debut album. It is album absolutely steeped in the r'n'b of the early 1960s - Sam Cooke, early/mid period Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. The music is full of early Motown doo-wop backing vocals, Stax-y horns and churchy organ. Just check out the sublime Southern soul of "Better Man" and the pure Marvin Gaye-influenced "Coming Home". Even the cover is completely retro and Bridges' sharply dressed (in a retro style) look and typical early 60s pose.

It is so refreshing to hear a contemporary soul album with no drum machines, no huge manufactured overwhelming bass sound, no synthesised vocals, no syrupy vocals using quavering vocal tricks. This is just straight up early 60s soul with music played by a proper band and sung by a completely authentic voice. There is an effortless groove to some of the tracks - just listen to "Brown Skin Girl" and the sumptuous "Smooth Sailin'". None of the tracks on here burn the house down but they get into a laid-back soulful but subtly upbeat rhythm. "Flowers" is probably the most upbeat, along with "Twistin' And Groovin'". While the music is obviously revivalist, there is a modern vitality and, of course, improved quality sound to it all that makes it most appealing.

"Shine" literally sounds as if "Change Is Gonna Come"-era Sam Cooke has revisited this earth. "Lisa Sawyer" is a soulful tribute to his mother, backed by some beautiful, atmospheric, smoky saxophone. This is a most enjoyable, quietly uplifting album. Recommended.

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