First Listen! Gladys Knight – Soon (Many Roads Records)
Soul/Gospel diva Gladys Knight back to the forefront, delivering one of her most beautiful performances ever. On the heels on her 2014 ‘Where My Heart Belongs’ album, here we have another absolute piece of heaven.
In the caliber of standards such as ‘Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)’ or ‘Love Overboard’. Not to mention her cover version of Ashford & Simpson‘s ‘Bourgie Bourgie’… ‘Soon’ looks set to get the lady to extra laurels.
We’re in the presence of a one of a kind piece of music. From the vocal performance which is, as you may guess, a 5 star one. To the production subtly integrating rhythmic fragments of ‘Tell Me If You Still Care’ which Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis crafted for S.O.S. Band. But also the inspirational lyrics. Not to mention the title – ‘Soon’ – resonating as an echo and, in the meantime, an extrapolation to the Commodores‘ classic ‘Zoom’.
Kinda hard to believe the first version of the band – simply called The Pips at the time – dates from the early 50’s.
The debut of Gladys Knight And The Pips didn’t happen to be like a simple ballad. Considered for some time as a second-string act by Motown where they got signed back in 1966, this didn’t get them from scoring their first hit the year after. This, with their version of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’. The first of a series including ‘If I Were Your Woman’ and ‘Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)’ and ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ on Buddah Records.
They then signed with Columbia by the end of the 70’s. ‘Taste Of Bitter Love’, ‘When You’re Far Away’ and ‘Save The Overtime For Me’ completing their already impressive list in addition to ‘Love Overboard’.
Gladys Knight also delivered material on her own, most likely due to contractual reasons. This resulting in the release of extra gems such as ‘You Bring Out The Best In Me’. But also the ultra sought after ‘It’s A Better Than Good Time’ as remixed by Walter Gibbons. No to mention ‘License To Kill’ among others.