Album – How Can I Make You Mine – Vel Omarr

Posted by admin on June 1st, 2008

I’ve got to admit, were I in a record shop looking to pick up a new CD, the cover of this would have me running a mile. No disrespect to Vel Omarr, but this cover, which to my mind, is a little cheesy, just does not do justice to the great music contained within. Now regular readers of Indie Launchpad, are probably going to be surprised by this albums inclusion, however I’ve been a big soul fan for many years and used to be a complete nut for the old Motown classics, so when I heard one of Vel’s tracks on Lynn Parson Red Light Zone podcast, my ears pricked up a little and suddenly those memories came flooding back, which is just the kind of nudge I need to find out more.

There’s 11 tracks on the album, with 3 of those being cover songs, although none of these were immediately recognisable to me. The album opens with “How Can I Make You Mine”, and you can almost hear Barry White’s voice singing a top the airy strings. When Vel’s vocals do kick in, you can’t help but compare them to Sam Cooke, vocals that are smooth and eminently listenable. “Hurry Back Home” continues this great sound. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album and the style on the album that I feel most comfortable with. “Feels Like Love” is the track I first heard on Lynn’s podcast and at just over 5 minutes, one of the longest. It’s an interesting track that seems to go on forever. This is one of those tracks you can imagine dancing to with your partner in some tropical climate and then just leading them off to the bedroom, I can almost imagine it being used in some movie scene.

“Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day” is the first of the three covers and this is where we’re first introduced to the brass section. I’m not sure if it’s real brass, but my suspicious are that it’s not. These suspicious are further endorsed when the track ends. It’s a real shame, as this is a great track, that is pretty much spoiled by the brass. The song also has a very lame ending, which is something akin to a cabaret act. “Trouble Blues” is the second cover and as the name implies is more blues than soul. Again this is not a cover I’m familiar with, but this version has some fantastic qualities and is up there with my favorites on the album. “That’s All That Matter To Me” is again a more bluesy track and while I like what Vel’s done with it, I much prefer the more soul inspired tracks.

“Baby Please Come Home” is the final cover and while I can’t quite place it, it does sound somewhat familiar. The feel of this track, reminds me a lot of Otis Reading and I can just imagine a few keyboard embellishments here and there, as used on “Tenderness”. “Lover’s Deja Vu” didn’t really appeal to me. Again I’m not sure if the drums here are real or electronic, but there’s something that sounds very artificial about them, consequently I found myself, listening more for those and less for the song itself, which is a shame. “Stay Where You Are” has that authentic soul sound, but there’s just something about it that didn’t gel with me. This was also true of the following blues/rock track “Al’s Sugar Shack”, which just didn’t really do anything for me. I think some of this is because it stood out too much from the rest of the tracks, I also wasn’t a huge fan of the keyboards. With regard to the keyboards, the same can be said for the last track, “I Believe I’m Falling in Love”.

This is an album that starts off very strong and tends to straggle somewhat towards the end. There’s enough here to really enjoy, even though there’s some tracks that are not quite to my liking.

Conclusion : This is a nice collection of songs, especially for listening to while snuggled up with the one you love. The only minor concerns I have is at times, the brass featured on some of the tracks sounds a little too artificial and a couple of the arrangements sound like they wouldn’t be too out of water, sung by some lounge act. That aside, this is a genre of music, that doesn’t get the exposure it deserves and there are some fantastic tracks here.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>