Change Background:
Loading
The Ultimate Destination for Soul Music
Home Classic Soul Archives Artist A-Z Features SoulMusic Records Voice Your Choice Soul Talkin' Reviews Hall of Fame The Soul Store
ALL A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

YAHZARAH 2010 CD REVIEW
THE BALLAD OF PURPLE ST. JAMES
Yahzarah began her dazzling music career as a backing vocalist for Erykah Badu, and has wowed the independent soul music scene since her debut album, Hear Me, dropped in October 2002 via the Pony Canyon label. Yahzarah calls it her ‘love album’ and her corresponding image was pure neo-soul. Yahzarah released her sophomore album Blackstar in September 2003 on independent label Three-Keys. This album took songs from Hear Me and added a few more new songs, making it almost a re-release of Hear Me, with Yah looking beautiful as usual on the front cover. October 2008 saw Yahzarah release her third record entitled The Prelude, which featured collaborations with neo-soul star Raheem DeVaughn. If you’re a devoted neo-soul fan you will know that Yahzarah and her career progression, as well as her imagery, has changed and developed, turning her into a full-fledged independent soul artist. And in these times when image is just as important as music, she has gone from neo-soul goddess to blaxploitation superwoman. With three previous albums under her sexy belt, Yahzarah is ready to conquer the world with her brand new thirteen-song album, The Ballad of Purple St. James . And her superstar visual accompanies it.

Released May 4th 2010 on The Foreign Exchange Music imprint, this album is sounding tight and it borders on legendary status. It’s a mixture of classic neo-soul, pop, R&B, and jazz. However, it is tough to pigeonhole such a highly gifted recording artist. And with a voice of honey and syrup, she creates multiple colours of the rainbow effortlessly. The Ballad of Purple St. James begins with an exciting introduction song “Strike Up The Band”, which has her singing “I’m back/That’s right/Purple St. James is here” , and what a treat it is to have her return. “Why Dontcha Call Me No More”, is Yahzarah’s leading single, which comes with a great music video. The song is a delicious blend of Outkast and Janelle Monae. The next song, “Cry Over You”, is a collaboration with Little Brother’s Phonte; it’s a 70’s funk hip-hop jam that is very radio friendly. Another collaborative experience on The Ballad of Purple St. James is “All My Days” which features singer Darien Brockington, aka D-Brock. It’s a mellow groove and Yah’s vocals remind you of a young Minnie Riperton. One of the highlights of this album is the classic-sounding neo-soul gem “Come Back As A Flower”. It has Yah singing over a slow tempo track, with luscious piano chords and has her reaching those extremely touching high notes that you will hear no other modern artist reach.

“Dedicated To You” is the next song where you hear Yah sing a solo vocal, with beautiful harmonies and melodies. “Come Back As A Flower” and “Dedicated To You” push producers out of the way and let Yah’s voice take centre stage. Before The Ballad of Purple St. James , Yahzarah had her previous independent releases. But for those that don’t know, Yahzarah has been collaborating with producer Nicolay and music collective The Foreign Exchange for some time. (Yahzarah was featured on Leave It All Behind ,The Foreign Exchange’s Grammy®-nominated album.)

“The Lie”, the next song, is possibly Yah’s most dark, yet it’s a commercially radio friendly song with a thumping beat and she’s singing strong and thought-provoking lyrics. Next up, “Last To Leave”, is a song that makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck; even legendary soul singers such as Phyllis Hyman or Angela Bofill would have had difficulty singing this song. A soul ballad with stunning piano, it showcases her vocal ability the most out of all the songs on The Ballad of Purple St. James .

Pressing forward, The Isley Brothers-inspired “Have A Heart” is enough to get anyone grooving and fits a summer’s day perfectly, with strumming guitar and soothing vocals. “Change Your Mind” is an energetic soul song, with an electronic feel. “Starship” is an intergalactic soul classic, very similar to the likes of Prince. The Zo!-produced “Shadow” is layered with piano and strings, and has Yah singing, “Be strong” . “Love, Come Save The Day” ends the album on a great high note, reminiscent of Earth, Wind & Fire. It looks like Yahzarah is finally seeing the light of day with this release, The Ballad of Purple St. James.

Rating: 10

  

US

Members Comments