Calvin Richardson

America's Most Wanted

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Modern day Georgia soul man Calvin "The Soul Prince" Richardson scored two Grammy nominations for his tribute album Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack, and as co-composer with Babyface on Charlie Wilson's "There Goes My Baby," from 2009, he also won ASCAP's Songwriter of the Year Award. These achievements have raised his profile beyond the Southern region (somewhat). America's Most Wanted, his fifth album, co-produced with Robert Perry (of the Revelations fame) should do so as well. The pre-release single "You're So Amazing" did reasonably well at national radio, garnering interest in the full-length. There are some fine tracks here that move beyond Richardson's trademarked, well-traveled Southern soul revivalism. Some of the more urban AC offerings here are oriented for the summer dancefloor season: "Feels Like We Sexin'" is a breezy stepper that uses grooves from contemporary jazz and Caribbean hand percussion. The title track opener is a logical follow-up single with its love-song groove, tasty B-3, and '70s guitar sound that push Richardson's flowing, quick-syllable vocal with just enough neo-soul to make it irresistible. His deep soul roots are displayed on "Come Over" and "Adore You." They fit that bill like new fingers in an old glove with passionate vocals, tightly arranged harmonies, and a sleight-of-hand retro production. The former contains a killer string arrangement. Speaking of strings, "Reach Out," a duet with Nadia, walks the line between it and its 21st century neo-soul cousin. There are are a few missteps, however. The most glaring is "Thug Livin'," drenched in Dirty South stereotypes; "You Possess My Body" is a complete bore after two minutes -- it goes on for nearly four -- and "Paradise" has its beats, faux funk guitar, and synth horns in all the wrong places. In sum, the pluses on America's Most Wanted outnumber the minuses and Richardson's profile should rise as a result.

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