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Anthony David - 'Acey Duecy'

Bluesy Soul

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Anthony David - 'Acey Duecy'
Image © Soulbird/Universal Republic Records.
Anthony David's major-label debut, Acey Duecy (released in the U.S. on June 24, 2008) is a good old-fashioned bluesy Soul album that once again gives credence to the theory that Atlanta is the current home for the most creative R&B and Soul music being made in America today. The album is a treasure trove of strong songwriting, live instrumentation and sparse production which proves that less really can actually be more. The only drawback to the album is that most of it is culled from his two previous, independently-released albums, but if you haven't heard his music yet, this serves as a nice introduction.

Strong Songwriting

Acey Duecy starts off a little slow, but it's not that the first three songs on the album are bad, it's just that they seem tailor-made to appeal to a wide audience. The songs - "Stop Playin'," "Something About You," (a remake of the mid-80s Level 42 song) and "Smoke One," all have big, catchy, simple hooks and the kind of Soulful melodies that you're likely to hear on any adult contemporary radio station in the U.S. It isn't until the fourth song, "Words," featuring India.Arie, that the album really starts to hit its stride.

"Words" (stream the video here) is a soaring love song with vocals so lush they sound the the musical equivalent of a river of honey. The chemistry between the two singers is very good, which should come as no surprise, since the two are good friends, both live in Atlanta and they've collaborated in the past. Anthony, who sounds like a cross between the gritty Anthony Hamilton and the smooth Bill Withers, is even signed to Universal Republic through India's Soulbird Records. Along with "Words," another great duet on the album is "Lady," a slow-burning R&B/Soul ballad featuring Keisha Jackson, daughter of legendary singer Millie Jackson. On "Lady," which is about a man changing his bad ways after falling in love, and other songs on the album, Anthony's knack for strong songwriting shines through. Many of the songs on Acey Duecy, tell stories, and its on these stories where Anthony gets real.

Well Done

Image © Soulbird/Universal Republic Records.
On "Spittin' Game" for instance, Anthony shows that he's a ladies man who definitely knows how to verbally seduce a woman: "I'll walk on air, I'll walk on fire, I'll do anything to get you, baby," he sweetly sings. "I'll give you what you need, and what you desire, I'll make your every waking thought about me." Other songs, such as the family reunion jam "Kinfolk," the ode to Southern girls "GA Peach," and especially the 3 a.m. booty call song "Cold Turkey" are all well-written, well-performed, well-arranged songs that are solid from top to bottom.

But the album's crown jewel is arguably the confessional "Cheatin' Man," an incredibly complicated - and profoundly sad - bluesy number where Anthony portrays a man who feels guilt and shame over following in his father's footsteps: "When I was a young boy I used to watch my daddy play, in my heart I'd always say he was wrong," he sings. "Now that I'm older, I find its time to settle down 'cause I need some love around to make me whole/But somethin' is funny; things I swore I'd never do I find myself fallin' a victim to."

If there's any knock on Acey Duecy, it's that there's not enough new material; of its 11 songs, almost all were originally on Anthony's two little-known indies releases: 2006's Red Clay Chronicles and 2004's Three Chords & the Truth. But if you haven't heard any of Anthony's previous work and/or you're a fan of bluesy Soul music, you might enjoy this album.

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