"Soul music's heydeys of the 60s and 70s were filled with great singers, but arguably the genre grew to new heights on the backs of songwriters. From Smokey Robinson and Holland-Dozier Holland in Detroit to Curtis Mayfield in Chicago to David Porter and Isaac Hayes in Memphis to Gamble & Huff in Philadelphia, songwriters paved the way for the golden age of Soul and created songs that are now considered the musical centerpiece of an entire generation - black and white. The last 15 years have been less kind to Soul Music, as, other than Babyface and a couple others, it is tough to name songwriters who have created the kind of classic material that folks will be singing 30 years from now. So when an extremely talented songwriter comes along, he or she should be cherished. That's what made Introducing Gordon Chambers a treat last year and that's what makes James Day's first full-length CD, Better Days, one of the best albums of 2006. He is, flat out, a great songwriter.
Day knocked many folks out with last year's Remember When EP, and here he shows it was no fluke. The best two tracks of that disc ("Don't Waste the Pretty" and the irresistible "Brick By Brick") return on Better Days and the title cut from the EP is redefined here as a brilliant ballad breathtakingly performed by Catherine Russell. Day also adds a half dozen new compositions, and they are uniformly strong (check out especially the title cut, "Can't Argue Like This" and "Will You Still Believe"). Even quality material can get lost with the wrong singer, but Better Days boasts a first rate cast of vocalists, including DQuest, Jill Sardeh, and especially Jeff Ramsey, Audrey Wheeler and Russell. The new disc also has far richer and more compelling arrangements that Day's lower budget EP, with nice touches like the sax solo on the title cut, a forlorn harmonica opening on "Remember When" and Jim Gately's fine guitar work on "Will You Still Believe?"
Better Days is ostensibly a salute to 80s soul music, but really comes off as a timeless disc of quality pop and soul music, superbly performed. Musical world, please meet James Day. He'll be around awhile. Very highly recommended.
To see SoulTracks entire bio of James Day visit http://www.soultracks.com/james_day.htm"
Music To Soothe Your Soul
Harmony Torayne | 07/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Better Days is a collection of tunes that soothe my soul. The music is a beautiful work of art! The vocalists are supreme and the background vocals sound like angels. This is a must have album for the lover of soul music."
Better days have arrived!
Marky Mark | UK | 07/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first came upon James and his works some 18 months back when I recieved a promo 7" of " dont waste the pretty " featuring Jeff Ramsey, First thing that struck me was that this artist took time to consider the dj's that would be playing this track by putting it on vinyl.I played the track and I was instantly taken back by the quality of this modern soul track with a taste of 80's nostalgia about it! These excellent lyrics complemented by the silky voice of jeff Ramsey certainly made me sit up and listen! Since I heard Dont waste the pretty and was fortunate hear other classy tracks like " Brick by Brick " featuring the vocals of Audrey Wheeler and "Remeber When" Featuring Mikelyn Rodderick the latter live in Londons Leicester Square I have followed the progress of James and his works!
Some weeks after the live event the name James Day was buzzing everywhere on the UK soul scene and were waiting for the full release of Better Days!
It's arrived! In my opinion one the best albums to be released in 2006, not only the orignal versions of tracks plus bonus remixes by James and Brad Young! Take time to listen to the samples on this site and I guarantee you buy this album and many more of Jame's works for years to come! This is a must have Album!
Marky Mark Jazz Syndicate Radio"
Ward Brown | 07/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I like most people got turned on to James Day with his "Remember When" release and now it's "Better Days". "Better Days" is exactly what it is. The artist and entire CD absolutely delivers and communicates that "Better Days" are coming back. Although I put the CD on and let it play....I must admit that I'm partial to "Love Taking Over". Absolutely love it. This CD is a must have and I'm most happy I have it.