Willie Clayton

The Voice

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"The Voice" of Willie Clayton is, as ever, that of a veteran soul man with echoes of Marvin Gaye and Al Green. What is more important on the Clayton album of that title, however, is what the voice is singing about. This is a concept album, and the concept is love. In song after song, Clayton praises a woman, declares his love for her, and pleads his case for expressing that love physically. As might be expected, the tempos tend to be slow, with one ballad following another, the pace only picking up when sex appears in the form of such songs as "As We Lay" and "Rock and Hold You." Clayton must assure his loved one that, despite what she might have thought in the past, he is now solely interested in her. "My attention is all yours," he proclaims in "Tonight," adding, "no hanging out in the VIP." To make his case, Clayton goes through his usual bag of vocal tricks, which include falsetto leaps, interjections, and throaty wails. By the end, with matters settled, he seems content to turn spiritual on a cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" that seems to acknowledge a change actually has come.

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