Album Title: The Way I See It
Performers: Raphael Saadiq and guests
Label & #: Columbia 88697 08585 2
Play Time:
Recorded: 2007/8

Raphael Saadiq (born Raphael Wiggins in Oakland, CA 1966) gained initial fame in the soul/R&B group Tony! Toni! Tone! which included his brother Dwayne Wiggins and cousin Timothy Christian. Their 1990 album The Revival sold over six millions copies before Raphael left to start a solo career and more recently as a producer for artists such as John Legend, Macy Gray, The Roots, TLC and Joss Stone who makes a cameo here.

The Way I See It unabashedly pays homage to 60's-70's black soul and pop. Heck, just check out the cool retro Blue Note-ish album cover. Think Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and I am sure you will know exactly what this sounds like. Not surprisingly, the performance, sound and retro cover eerily suggest that this album is a hitherto unknown Soul/R&B classic resurrected from a long forgotten vault. The only thing that sounds remotely contemporary is the bonus remix track of Oh Girl featuring Jay-Z that deftly blends classic Soul with Hip-Hop swagger.

This tight set with its catchy lyrics and clever funky arrangements -- plus a great group of session musicians including legend Stevie Wonder -- never loosens its grip. It's one of the most consistently good albums I have heard in a long time. It boogies like a mutha and has an infectious groove all its own. Just as The Band's self-titled album so successfully conjured up a post US Civil War atmosphere, The Way I See It does much the same but
instead evokes the Soul and Funk of the late 60s and early 70s. While studio bound, sound quality is a pleasant alternative to the stream of compressed muck usually issued these days. Also available on LP. With nary a weak track, which is all too rare these days, The Way I See It is a modern Soul classic that should appeal to a vast audience.