Tuesday, September 9, 2008



4.9 On scale of 1-5

I first became aware of R&B/Soul singer/songwriter Noel Gourdin while I was on the express bus reading an article about him in Black Beat magazine. “This is one brother I have to check out” I said as the bus strolled up Courteylou Road. Three days later, I logged onto his website, and I was captivated with his soulful singing voice.
“Damn! This brother got some soulful pipes” I said after I listened to “One Love” and “The River” which was featured in the film “Meeting The Roscoes” and is still getting spins on R&B radio.
Born and raised in Boston, Gourdin grew up listening to Soul legends Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, Michael Jackson and Tyrone Davis, as well as spending summers with his grandparents in their hometown of Biloxi, Mississippi, where he received an education about history, the southerners struggles, making out in backseats of cars. He also spend time in church where he honed his singing and writing skills, which is evident on his debut release “After My Time” which is the number one album on I-Tunes, and is becoming a hit with the young and adults.
With many of today’s R&B singers, relying on Hip-Hop beats to reach the young market, Gourdin opted to record songs that cater to both the females and males as well as combine all genres of music including R&B, Soul, Rock and New Jack Swing which makes him stand out from the other male artist. “I didn't do a bunch of collabos with popular names because I want people to fall in love with me as an artist” the singer told Essence Magazine. “There is something for everyone on this album and I’m comfortable in going other places musically.
Producers Kay-Gee (Naughty By Nature, Zhane, Jaheim), Rafael Saadiq, Salaam Remi, Antwann “Frost Beatz” helped with the production along with the team of Andre Harris and Vidal Davis.
The CD opens with his current single “One Love” which has great strings, and displays his Southern and Gospel roots, and his ability to sing lead, and harmonize, further demonstrated on “Better Man” which also has funky horn riffs. He displays his writing talents on his debut single “The River” which is still gaining spins on R&B and Adult Comptermporary radio as we speak. It features creative lyrics about life in the south during the 1950’s and 1960’s, and contains samples from Millie Jackson’s classic “How Do You Feel the Morning After.”
“Open” is a hot song that features Noel singing tenor and baritone, and sensual lyrics written by Salaam Remi and Rico Love, though his vocal performance at the end of the song should have been longer. However, he redeems himself with smooth flowing “Hurts Like Hell which has a hot combo of R&B, Soul and House, and lyrics about leaving a woman who played them.
“You have it all
Can have the house
Keep the cars and the dog
I’m gone. As long as you’re happy
But when it gets tough
And it will
Find another sucker to cover your bills
She really played me out
But I love her still.
Hurts like hell
But she’ll never see me cryin’
This song will be a hit with the brothers along with “Reach” is creatively written song about a guy thanking his woman for sticking with him, though he isn’t able to provide diamonds and expensive clothing. (Sisters need to listen to this song). “Led You On” is a favorite that be a radio and concert high light thanks to the old school live concert feel, courtesy of the guitars by Ray Horten, and finger snaps blending with Noel’s smooth vocalizing, which can also be heard on the Jazz flavored ballad “Sorry” which contains samples from the Jazz classic “Mystic Brew.”
“Summertime” is my all time favorite song on the album. In addition to Noel’s soulful vocal riffs and phrasing, this sexy ballad has creative and sensual about having hot and passionate sex during the winter season, and once you hear this song, you’re going to be tempted to use your personal days to make love to your partners. Especially when it’s cold outside.

It could be December
If we keep kissin’
We gonna need some air condition
Got a fifth of Bacardi
Suckin’ that Marley
Windows are foggy, whoa
And we can make summer wherever we go.
Just because it’s cold outside
And the sun ain’t shinning
That don’t mean we can’t get to sweatin’
Like it’s summertime.

The CD closes with inspirational “Make The Most,” an uplifting song about showing love to family and friends, and not taking them for granted. What make this song are the lyrics, and the vocal performance between Noel and the song’s co-writer Arama Brown who blends with the singer during the bridge of the song.

Noel Gourdin’s debut is one of the freshest debuts I heard in years; it’s great to hear new artist bring something different to the game, as opposed to trying to keep up with the Joneses. As long as Noel continues to follow his heart and stay true to himself, he will be able to maintain longevity, and become a legend in his own right.

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