I Listened And I Don't Feel Bad
Andre S. Grindle | Brewer Maine | 03/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Simply Red's initial success with the and "Holding Back The Years" is something that caught my attention early in my life. After that most people consider it a bit of a hit or miss affair when Simply Red put out albums.And this tends to be one of the reasons.It was greeted with all the warmth of...well a sophmore slump. The fact is the main difference here is use of style. Wheras the bands debut Picture Book showcased a group who were able to blend soul and songcraft in the finest way possible this album showcases the band working it's way through a set of primarily uptempo tunes with a heavy soul/dance/funk bent;not far at all from the debut but somewhat less mellow. The emphasis on that Stax/Volt/Memphis funky soul influence really showcases itself very well on "The Right Thing",a single I saw the band perform on David Letterman at the time,"Infidelity","Suffer","Move On Out" and the excellent "Shine". There's also a high octane cover of Sly's "Let Me Have It" and "I Won't Feel Bad",the original 45 B side to "Holding Back The Years" and one of the best songs on the entire album. "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye".....well I love Cole Porter but this is delivered with a little too much sudlty.While there is nothing there that crossed over to the strong extent that the debut album did or would go on to become a standard it's definately an underated album especially if your a lover of Memphis style Brit-Funk."
Yes, It's That Good
BuzzGuy | Madison, WI, USA | 07/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fans of Sly Stone, Average White Band, Sade, and Swing Out Sister, to name a few, will all find something appealing about Simply Red's sophomore release, "Men And Women", originally released in 1987. After enjoying a worldwide smash and instant standard in the single "Holding Back The Years", the temptation to produce a clone had to be on the band's mind. That clone is "Maybe Someday...", but let's put that aside a moment.
Delightfully, the rest of the album finds the band confident, exploratory, and exuberant. Lyrically, Mick Hucknall has love on the mind. Specifically, the lustful kind. The working class Brit viewpoint, especially on matters of the heart, is still intact and at its zenith here. The band sounds incredible too. From horns, piano, synth, and hearty background vocal, these are just the right bandmates to match Hucknall's take-no-prisoners mood.
The songs : "The Right Thing", a fine eighties pop tune. "Infidelity", an ode to that cheating mood. "Let Me Have It All", hands-down funk exercise a la AWB and Sly. "Love Fire", touches elements of reggae and ska. "Move On Out" and "Shine", smooth soul with slinky minor chords.
The good news : there's not a dud in the bunch, and this import adds six more tracks to the original album.
The bad news : the US didn't take to "Men And Women" as this great work merited. "The Right Thing" scraped the top forty; the rest was virtually forgotten. It put Simply Red in the position of slicking it up way too far on their next release, "A New Flame". The reward was another #1 in the form of a tame Philly soul cover on a tame release.
Here, they weren't yet playing safe, the results are spectacular. I'm not big on giving anything 5 stars, but I have no reservations about how highly I recommend this to fans of true soul music."