This 1994 release finds the Iceman, the smooth Philly soulster also known as Jerry Butler, returning to form. At first, the synthesizer-heavy sound and slick, contemporary production of SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL seems somewhat at odds with the popular image of Butler as front man for the Impressions and consummate '60s crooner. In truth however, Butler sounds right at home in the "adult contemporary" context and, in retrospect, even his '60s singles--with their rich orchestral arrangements--sound like something of a precursor to the genre.
Backed by a string ensemble and a cadre of studio musicians, Butler plays the romantic balladeer as ably as ever on cuts like "The Better Love Is," "Don't Be Afraid (To Show How You Feel)," and the title cut. Age has lent texture to Butler's rich baritone, but hasn't diminished its quality in the slightest, and, as the cover photo of the suave, tuxedo-clad singer might hint, age hasn't effected his style either. SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL is a contemporary take on this classic soul singer.