RAPHAEL SAADIQ - THE WAY I SEE IT album is satisfying for both old school heads and today’s hip music buyers: his background as a musician, singer and songwriter is steeped in a love for R&B married with a commitment to making his own brand of expressive soul music. Born and raised in Oakland, California learned to play guitar, drums, and bass at the age of six, making the bass his preferred instrument. Singing with a professional gospel group by the time he was nine, Raphael’s musical education encompassed classical music, ‘40s spirituals, hymns, jazz and, of course, R&B. Shortly after high school, Saadiq won a chance to join Prince and Sheila E. on their 1984 ”Parade” world tour.
From his early days as a member of the groundbreaking ‘80s group Tony! Toni! Toné!, through his work as an award-winning producer of such artists as Joss Stone, The Roots, Snoop Dogg, John Legend among many others and his own solo albums, the multi-talented Raphael Saadiq has kept the faith.
Listening to THE WAY I SEE IT, it’s immediately obvious that it could have been recorded thirty years ago. Musically cohesive in the same way that soul music albums were recorded back in the day, Raphael’s third solo album and first for Columbia Records is not merely a throwback: it is as close to the kind of record made in Detroit, Chicago, Memphis, Miami or New York by any number of super R&B hit makers to anything recorded since. While other contemporary artists may attempt to emulate the sound and flavor of ‘70s soul music, Raphael Saadiq brings real emotion, real feeling and production values that are simply (to borrow a popular phrase from back then), right on.
The result is that THE WAY I SEE IT has the kind of smooth musical flow associated with great records made by pioneering producers at famous R&B companies like Motown, Invictus and Brunswick, from the foot-tapping opening track, Sure Hope You Mean It to the head-shaking reflective closer Sometimes.
Loyal Tony! Toni! Toné! fans will particularly appreciate 100 Yard Dash, which Raphael describes as “a juke joint, Booker T.-type groove. I reflected back to my first T!T!T! albums when I was singing in a high tenor voice.” Grammy®-winning Joss Stone (with whom Raphael worked on the best-selling 2007 set “Introducing Joss Stone”) is a special guest on the Smokey Robinson inspired Just One Kiss. That same love for real music is exactly what has created a solid and loyal audience for traditional soul sounds.
(added: 2010-04-15 11:54:29 )