reviews Revelations' CD

Reviewby Michael G. Nastos

The second release within a year for the Revelations is all the stewed and tasty classic Southern American soul music one could hope for. Lead vocalist Tre' Williams is again along for the ride on these originals that look back to the 1960s with relationship themes germane to both then and now. A punchy horn section and rhythm team along with numerous special -- nay obscure -- guests fortify this funky music that reflects the influence of icons like Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Joe Tex, Percy Sledge, and Johnnie Taylor. While there are several tracks that feature the choral aspect of gospel music, it is Williams up front and personal that stamps this music with pure soul. When you hear the first track, "Stay Free," parallel to Eddie Floyd's straight funky "Big Bird," you know where the bandmembers are coming from, and to put your hands in the air along with them. Many slower numbers like "The Truth Shall Set You Free," "Let's Straighten It Out," and "How Do I Tell Him?" do have a preachy side, but are more secular from an instrumental standpoint. The ultimate forgiving-but-not-forgetting song is "Sorry's Not Enough," quite similar to the old Luther Ingram hit "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" with keyboard-derived strings and pouring out tears of regret, while "It's Too Late" and the upbeat, repeat synthesized "Remember the Last Time" have everlasting qualities that can never die or fade away. Then there's the seedier side with "Cheatin'/Secret Lovers" and "He's a Hustler," definitive cautionary tales that you'd think would be fading away as moral issues but are even more prevalent to write about nowadays. As great a singer as Williams is and should continue to be for some time, he's not so much distinctive or immediately recognizable as he is smooth, unforced, and pleasing. Like a good baseball umpire doing his job, he blends into the woodwork of this music when things are clicking, and all the calls are spot-on. It's hard to really find fault with any of these 15 tracks aside from the themes being well-worn, familiar, and in the main clich├ęd. Yet the Revelations collectively derive new meaning with their updated phrasings, retrograde rhythm & blues to the core, yet still relevant in modern society despite all the changes between men and women, spirits, deities, and the power of faith. The Bleeding Edge is a successful project sure to appeal to many in the urban community.

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