RON HENDERSON & CHOICE OF COLOUR
When a new CD arrives in the house, the chances of me actually listening to it immediately are almost nil. John snaffles the said disc for the car, and that’s the last I hear of it until the weekend. However, with the Ron Henderson/Choice of Colour CD I put my foot down and insisted that I be allowed to enjoy the music too….and subsequently the “Gemini Lady” release is one that’s been on the headphones almost constantly.
A selection of very diverse and listenable tracks, many previously unreleased, that will hit the spot with lovers of seventies soul. There’s a dollop of doo-wop, a glimpse of gospel, a nugget of Neo-Northern, more than a smidgen of sweet soul (and a few gracious nods in the direction of Marvin) and much more on offer from this excellent new offering from the new Grapevine subsidiary, Soul Junction.Not only does Ron Henderson have a very pleasing, smooth and adaptable voice, this material showcases an extremely talented songwriter, penning 14 of the 20 tracks on this album.
Many of you will already be very familiar with the opening track, Your Love – it’s a smart programming decision slotting this number on first. Whatever your favoured genre, Your Love has a broad appeal, and of course has become an extremely popular spin in both Northern and crossover rooms in recent years. One of those records that works as well on the sound system at home as it does with a dancefloor underfoot.
Don’t Take Her For Granted, with the spoken intro so beloved of it’s era, was a near hit for Ron Henderson & The Choice of Colour, promising them a rosy future in the music industry that never truly materialised. The lack of exposure that their recording suffered is a travesty. Like many of the respected artists known to the aficionados of 60’s and 70’s soul – the group were to suffer at the hands of poor distribution and business practice, an overcrowded market and unreleased recordings.
Track Three – Nobody Will Ever Take Your Love From Me is the number that seems to have been almost universally picked as “the chosen one” by the DJ’s. This has been getting regular play ever since the first copies of this were first available and is already a guaranteed floor-filler at venues such as the Orwell. An instantly catchy melody and great group harmony makes it the most obvious tune that stands out on first play.
Hooked On Your Love is also enjoying some success in the venues – although it’s not such an accomplished or complete song to Mrs Nightingale’s ears, some friends and arbiters of taste often select this bass driven number as their immediate favourite. On a more Modern tip Sunshine has all the ingredients for the making of a happy and full dance floor; perfect weekender material.
Love Is Gone is slightly more subtle than some of the other tunes, but the gentle strings and delicate orchestration that backs the vocal is right on the money and I have a feeling that this is going to be the real ‘grower’ for me.
However if I were to pick one track that I instantly adored above all others then “I’ll Be Around” ……(think something along the lines of Mercy Mercy Me, but with choppy punctuation from the horns behind it). Baby I Wanna Be Yours is another almost Marvin-esque arrangement that I will no doubt be playing on a loop – it’s gorgeous.
And finally a mention for the title track from the early 80’s – Gemini Lady, a long time Modern soul anthem (and a very collectable and pricey slab of vinyl). For those of you that know and appreciate this number – there’s far more to Ron Henderson and Choice of Colour, and it will be a more than a satisfying surprise for you.
There isn’t really a duff track on this CD – not all will make you want to fling your arms in the air or throw yourself at the dance floor, but that isn’t the beauty of these recordings – they are simply a very pleasing selection of 70’s and early 80’s soul tracks that just exude class, and are performed by a very accomplished group and lead vocalist.
As the informative sleeve notes, written by John Ridley, pronounce “This collection will do a lot to restore the morale of soul group freaks everywhere”. My sentiments exactly – and there’s a hint that there will be more where these came from. Good news indeed.
All hail the masters at work. Grapevine continues to impress me, big time, with their supremely tasteful output.
Available from www.grapevine-soul.com as well as the usual outlets.