Sydney Youngblood

Sydney Youngblood

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Dance-soul singer Sydney Youngblood released only one album in the U.S., and registered a small hit with his shimmering version of the Etta James classic "I'd Rather Go Blind," but became a much bigger star, with much bigger hits, in Europe. The album teeters between early-'90s house; late-'80s big beat soul-pop (such as on "Sit and Wait"); and pure, unadulterated classic soul. There are several gimmicky moments on the album, and sometimes his low-register singing isn't entirely effective, but the album does possess a classic, timeless, sophisticated quality. "If Only I Could" and "Feeling Free" are pure, early-'90s house, as is "Don't Keep Me Waiting," which is somewhat bogged down by an unintentionally silly rap break. The funky "Good Times Bad Times," which heavily samples George Michael's "Hard Day," precedes a trend perfected by Puff Daddy years later. The album's true shining moments, however, are on its covers. His version of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind" is wonderful, as is his version of the Manhattans' "Kiss and Say Goodbye." Even his percussion-heavy version of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," which at first sounds a bit dated, winds up being surprisingly good. The U.K. version of the album, titled Feeling Free, boasts two additional songs, those being "Could It Be (I'm in Love)" and "That Was Yesterday"."

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