Tad Robinson

A New Point of View

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Otis Clay is on record as saying that when Tad Robinson dies he'll be "going to soul heaven," and he's not kidding. Robinson has one of the richest and most powerful voices in soul and blues music, and his latest album is not only a triumph of pure singing, but of old-school arranging and song choice as well. The first thing you notice, of course, is Robinson's rich, chesty, rough-but-sweet voice, an instrument that he can use virtuosically but chooses to wield with restraint. The second thing you notice is the horn charts -- on tracks like the album-opening "Long Way Home" and the album-closing "Back for More," the horns deepen and expand the songs' sound, laying a rich and multicolored carpet for Robinson's voice. The songs, most of them modern originals, are almost all excellent as well (the slightly overwrought "He's Movin' In (To Her Life)" and the slightly preachy "When You're Ready" being the only minor exceptions). Robinson isn't afraid to acknowledge his influences; you'll hear a strong hint of Sam Cooke's melodic style in his delivery on the Johnnie Taylor classic "Ain't That Lovin' You (For More Reasons Than One)," and you'll hear touches of Otis Redding here and there as well. But his influences are all well digested and Robinson's sound, traditional as it is, long ago became fully his own. Highly recommended.

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