Moon Ride

Moon Ride

by Leon Ware
     
 
Leon Ware is hardly a household name but he was one of Motown's most successful songwriters. His list of accomplishments is too long to list in its entirety here (see the bio) but they include writing Michael Jackson's smash "I Wanna Be Where You Are," working on Quincy Jones' classic

Overview

Leon Ware is hardly a household name but he was one of Motown's most successful songwriters. His list of accomplishments is too long to list in its entirety here (see the bio) but they include writing Michael Jackson's smash "I Wanna Be Where You Are," working on Quincy Jones' classic Body Heat and Mellow Madness albums, and writing and producing Marvin Gaye's monster I Want You LP. He's also cut brilliant albums for Gordy and Elektra in the 1970s and '80s, and influenced singers and songwriters from Rahsaan Patterson andLewis Taylor to D'Angelo, and Bilal. Moon Ride is Ware's debut album for the revived Stax imprint. His late 20th and early 21st century self-released albums are a little thin in production -- due to a lack of a proper budget -- but they are musically astute and sophisticated. Ware's absolute lyrical and musical obsession with the topics of love, the sensual, and the divine are a constant on every record he's made, written or produced, and are on full display here. Because of its lush, elegant textures, open drifting songs, and laid-back romantic vibe, Moon Ride can be a little difficult to get a handle on initially. This is because it was constructed as an album, not a series of singles. It's a deep journey into the sensual by a master storyteller. The graceful sexy soul in the title track opens the album; it floats, hovers, and winds its way deep into the senses like an opiate. The undercurrent of guitars and funky keyboard lines surround the listener as Ware's amazing voice just comes through the ether to lay out the sensual truth. Hold onto the synth and guitar vamps and you're there, in Ware's zone. The joyous riff that opens "Blue Dress," is a fingerpopper, it holds the attention while going deeper into Ware's husky raw sensual expression. The gorgeous ballad "Hold Tight" follows it as a blend of jazz, urban soul, and Ware's impressionistic poetry all set a scene. "Take Your Time," was written with and stars soul-jazz guitar great David T. Walker; its depth and dimension are enhanced by plush production touches making it dreamy, wispy, and warm. If there's a single on this set it's "Smoovin'," a jazzy tune with a throwaway title and a killer hook offered by a blend of guitars, a strong yet subtle bassline, and David Foreman's overdubbed guitars. Add to this the backing vocals of James Ingram and you have a stone killer. Other standouts include "I Never Loved So Much," and a killer recut of "To Serve You (All My Love") off 2004's Deeper album that blows away the original. One can hear Marvin Gaye's ghost emoting through Ware's delivery as drummer Teddy Campbell's subtle breaks highlight the groove. (Ingram appears here too.) Fellow Detroiter Amp Fiddler cameos on "From Inside," an erotic slow burn of a ballad he co-wrote with Ware. He also plays keyboards on it. As the extra rhythm tracks appear on the refrain (a Fiddler trademark), Ware just takes his vocal right toward them and opens it all up to the listener's senses. The lasting impression from Moon Ride is that Ware remains an original; a pioneering artist who continues to evolve and who is perhaps more relevant today than in the '70s. He is a poet of the senses; for him music speaks a deeper more provocative truth: That the emotional and physical intimacy of lovers is where the Divine speaks directly. Moon Ride is a journey into the heart of that space, and the welcome, high profile return of a master.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/12/2008
Label:
Stax
UPC:
0888072302280
catalogNumber:
30228

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Leon Ware   Primary Artist,Keyboards,Background Vocals
James Ingram   Background Vocals
Onaje Allan Gumbs   Piano
David T. Walker   Guitar
Alex Al   Bass Guitar
Taylor Graves   Keyboards,Synthesizer Bass
Amp Fiddler   Keyboards
Tim Carmon   Keyboards
David Delhomme   Piano
Chris Rob   Keyboards
Teddy Campbell   Drums,Background Vocals
David "Aisho" Rivilla García   Percussion
Cameron Graves   Keyboards
Selan   Keyboards
Rob "Fonksta" Bacon   Guitar
David Lavita   Acoustic Guitar
John Barnes   Keyboards
David Lavita   Acoustic Guitar
Armando Castangnoli   Saxophone
David Garcia   Percussion
Rob Bacon   Guitar
David Foreman   Acoustic Guitar

Technical Credits

Taylor Graves   Composer,Programming,Producer
Leon Ware   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Kenny Dope   Composer
Gerry "The Gov" Brown   Engineer
Selan Lerner   Composer
Chris Rob   Composer,Audio Production
Cameron Graves   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
John Barnes   Composer,Producer,Audio Production

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