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R&B

This is how you do soul

September 23, 2008
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Raphael Saadiq

The Way I See It (Columbia)

ESSENTIAL "Sometimes"

Throughout his career, Saadiq has fiercely maintained the sound and legacy of classic soul as the genre has been overwhelmed by manufactured sterility. On his latest effort, Saadiq creates a seamless, supremely melodic set that evokes '60s and '70s soul. It makes sense because as a member of Tony! Toni! Tone! and as a solo artist, he has already made some of the most memorable soul of our era. There are quotes from Motown, Philly soul, and Stax, among other influences, but the great singer/multi-instrumentalist/producer delivers a vivid organic sound that cuts to the heart while it swings and strolls. He understands that all great R&B songs tell stories instead of being built on riffs and hooks. So songs of desire, betrayal, and joy are mixed with a track like "Big Easy," a tender tale of post-Katrina yearning. Joss Stone makes a sweet turn on "Just One Kiss," and Stevie Wonder does Stevie on "Never Give You Up." This is an effortless slice of soul that so many others can't get right. [Ken Capobianco]

The Kids

are all right

Haden taps his rambling roots

Another pick-up line you've already heard

Bishop gets the blues with friends

This is how you do soul

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