Back in the mid-Nineties, UK soulman Reuben James (as he was then known) released a single, “Hold On My Heart”, that drew praise from former Atlantic boss Jerry Wexler.
Re-recorded here, it’s easy to hear what drew his ear to this pained plaint in the style of Percy Sledge’s “Take Time to Know Her”. But it’s by no means the sole attraction on this fine tribute to tried-and-trusted soul verities, stuffed with rolling grooves, full-fat horn sections and slippery, Cropper-esque guitar lines.
Although some of the songs may have been cobbled together from old soul clichés, Dave Williams’ slow-burning deep-soul production is so well done it salvages the material.
And there’s undoubted skill to his combinations of classic modes – as witness the slick, easy charm with which “A.S.A.P.” blends the groove of “Who’s Making Love?” with the title-hook style of Joe Tex’s “S.Y.S.L.J.F.M.”.