Beautifully arranged by Lou Pommani, the songs on SOUL BALLADS are, for the most part,
excellent choices for David Clayton-Thomas' husky baritone. More importantly, they reflect
the inspiration he received from the rhythm and blues greats who touched his spirit and
mind as a young man.
On SOUL BALLADS, the strings,subdued horns, electric guitars and other musical elements
coalesce to create the sort of sympathetic backing that allows Clayton-Thomas to ride a gentle
groove that allows his singing to embrace and express the meaning in the songs he has chosen.
I was never a fan of the punchy, block-cadenced style that Blood. Sweat, and
Tears emphasized, so hearing David Clayton-Thomas sing as he does on SOUL BALLADS is, for me,
a welcome contrast to the bombast of the BS&T years.
The sequencing of the strong message songs A Change is Gonna Come, followed by People Get Ready
is inspired, and allow Clayton-Thomas to make a statement that SOUL BALLADS isn't just an oldies rehash.
That shouldn't be a surprise,though, given that Clayton-Thomas' big, pre-world fame single was
Brainwashed, an extraordinary melding of rock and jazz elements with heavy lyrics delivered
in powerhouse fashion. It was a song with something to say, too.
A couple of Otis Redding songs--Dock of the Bay and I've Been Loving You A Little Too
Long--offer a mini-tribute of sorts. To finish off the album, Clayton-Thomas gives
When a Man Loves a Woman a fine treatment.
In the liner notes for SOUL BALLADS, David Clayton-Thomas expresses a wish to do more
albums of a similar kind. I hope that happens.