Friday, February 1, 2008

Corey Glover - Hymns

You remember those cats, Living Colour, right? Wore a lot of latex and Body Glove gear while they hooted and hollered about being a cult of personality. There we go . . . now you’re with me. I could see the wheels turning just a bit. With Living Colour, we were treated with some pretty heavy groove rock. We cheered them on, we laughed a little, we dug into their riffs tinged with spastic jazz guitar solos. And through it all, we were treated to a multifaceted vocalist who ranged from blues rock to soul in a couple of breathes. Who’s voice was that? Give you a hint . . . read the title of the review.

So, Corey Glover goes out and records an album, which was released in 1998, and subsequently watched it fall on deaf ears. I tell ya . . . such injustice in this world. I understand why it wasn’t commercially successful, and it’s not just because the label didn’t know how to position this bad boy in the superstores. I know that most people expected it to sound like an offshoot of Living Colour with their previously mentioned array of sounds. But that’s not what Corey Glover, the artist, is all about. This dudes got soul and he expresses it with the power of groove and a killer voice. Hymns is packed with R&B soul churning grooves that will leave your hips worn out from pelvic thrusting your way across the living room.

After the opening tidbit “Hymn #1017”, we’re offered a peace offering for believing that this was something from “Camp Living Colour.” “Do You First, Then Do Myself” is a rocker! It truly opens the album with attention grabbing gusto and is upbeat and lyrically stimulating. Along with “Sermon,” its a simple reminder of where the voice gained it’s popularity. Both songs could have fit nicely on any Living Colour disc, but thankfully appear on Hymns and are somewhat of a necessity. Gotta’ have some rocking tunes to balance out the slower stuff, otherwise where are the dynamics?

“April Rain” and “Hot Buttered Soul” are soulful tunes that highlight Glover’s voice. Great melodies at the choruses carry the tune through the day like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth. Simply put . . . it sticks with you, and doesn’t taste bad either. “Little Girl” is straight out of R&B history and would have been a huge hit in the ‘60’s or ‘70’s . . . you know, back when people cared more about the quality of the music than the look of the musicians. Watch for the great vocal breakdown at the 3:38 mark. Soul, baby!

“Sidewalk Angel” and “Lowball Express” show Corey’s funky side. Groovin’ bass lines and wah’ed out guitar licks fill the air and have you feeling like you should be cruisin’ down the streets of Harlem with some attitude. Either that or shooting a porn movie. But on a serious note . . . how is it that “Lowball Express” didn’t become a hit song? I’m bouncing in my chair as write this thing . . . bad ass groove, man!

The most moving tune on Hymns has to be “Only Time Will Tell”. Corey’s vocal performance will tear you up. The tune has that ‘80’s soundtrack quality to it. The melody just reminds you of so many poignant moments in life and makes the song fitting for any “Best of the Soft Rock That You’ve Never Heard” compilation. You can feel the emotion throughout, and that’s all I’ve ever asked of a song. Let me feel it. Let me know why you’re hurting, Corey! Damn it, man. We need to go have a drink and talk things over. I’m sad for you.

And, I guess only time will tell if Hymns will ever be considered a classic by the music industry. I’ll do everything that I can with the power I wield within these spindly fingertips to keep a fire lit under this one. Again, it’s probably not a life changing album, but it’s also one that shouldn’t be ignored. Find a copy, feel Corey’s pain, and meet us at the end of the bar. We’ll save a seat for you. - Pope JTE

Buy here: Hymns

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