There’s a lot of brilliance around LeJuene Thompson’s way.Producer: Cedric Thompson
album release date: September 25, 2001
The debut solo release, Soul Inspiration from the widely heard Thompson has a lot of tunes that mention the sun in the title. One could only deduce that it’s because there’s some glowing going on in her life. After many years of illuminating from the background, Thompson come strong and sheds some strong light on the ‘solo female’ category.
The album is remarkable for successfully planting a neo-soul sound into no-doubt church soil, with frequent musical references to that traditional sound that Thompson has made her own in previous projects we’ve heard her on.
Arrangments, when not simply for solo voice, often include a select ensemble of tightly-knit backing singers that for some reason, you have no problem in visualizing, with the buttery soul effects that they bring to the table. All this is propelled and solidified by the usual but always under-appreciated production genius of
While there’s much to be said about the original material presented here, Thompson takes on no small task in covering two huge classics. The first is Richard Smallwood’s “Psalm 8”, which comes draped in majesty and grandeur and is also graced with vocals supreme.
She rolls up her sleeves and digs into the Clark Sisters’ “You Brought The Sunshine”. Now I don’t have to tell you redoing a Clark Sisters’ classic is something easy to mess up, but Thompson stakes her flag in it and garners some points for the 2k1. Boisterously soulful and with plenty of horns to set the pace, this groovy take does justice. You know that Twinkie would approve.
On the delicate “Heaven”, Thompson reflects on what it would be like if a bit of the divine would rest on here on earth a world of no racism or war. Clearly a message we need right now.
Thompson is a vocal chameleon that wonderfully wears all her colors. From the smooth to the groove, she ably transitions, and all without sounding gimmicky. The bluesy “Born Again” is a prime example. Thompson slides right into the genre without sounding like a cheap imitation.
The ballad “One More Sunny Day” drops the signature pen of Donald Lawrence and “Brighter Days” is a luminous happy tune, penned by Myron Butler, Candy West and Jerome Allen.
Throughout and there’s certainly a depth of material herethe combination of LeJuene’s skilled vocals and husband Cedric’s production prowess leaves people simply trying to keep up with the Thompsons.
And loving them for letting it be that way.
reviewed by Melanie Clark and Stan North —
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