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Delbert and The Commotions – Let Me See Ya Dance – Album Review

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Delbert and The Commotions – Let Me See Ya Dance – Album Review

Delbert and the CommotionsTOTAL SCORE: 8/10
[starreviewmulti id=6 tpl=20]


Style: Soul, Funk, R&B
Release Date: March 22nd, 2013
Label: Self-Released

Canadian songwriter and producer Brian Asselin and American soul singer, Delbert Nelson, are the two main driving forces behind Delbert & the Commotions. The two met several years ago while touring with the Legendary Funk Brothers. Within the last year the two began discussing the idea of doing a collaborative project. The result: Let Me See Ya Dance, which features a variety of musicians, artists and songwriters including Dave Gaw, Steve Berndt and Eric Disero.

Some album titles are aloof in their meaning, leaving the idea of the title to the imagination of the listener. But in the case of Let Me See Ya Dance, there is no secret meanings, from the first track listeners easily find themselves bouncing their feet and moving their shoulders to “The Little Things”, a lively and upbeat song that contains various musical instruments including brass, horns, guitar, drums and bass.  The song touches at love and enjoying the little things with those special in your life. Delbert also alludes to the power of love when he sings, “your love is like an ocean breeze, and every time I see you girl you got me on my knees”. The horns and brass compliment Delbert’s voice nicely and the song is a great jumping off point, setting the overall tone and ambiance of the album.

“I’m Over You” keeps an upbeat pace, but the lyrics change from benign to bitter, as Delbert sings of former love and heartbreak. There’s even a verse of rap that gives a certain grittiness to the track, which is suitable given the subject matter of the song.  Next is “Let Me See Ya Dance”, the song in which the album is named after, which opens with some funky saxophone and breaks into a funky groove that makes it impossible to sit still. As the title suggests, the song makes you want to dance. Between the excellent musical composition and Delbert’s powerful vocals, it’s hard not to bust a move — like the moonwalk, as Delbert vibrantly suggests at one point during the song.

“Someone Like You” is one of the first songs where we get to listen, in depth, to Rebecca Noelle’s soulful voice (she does a lot of backing vocals on the album), which compliments Delbert’s voice in both style and harmony. The song also maintains an upbeat tempo, although slightly less so than “Let Me See Ya Dance”, but the song keeps a steady pace and listening to Delbert and Rebecca harmonize is thoroughly enjoyable, making “Someone Like You” one of my favourite tracks on the album.

“Through Your Eyes” and “Love Elevator” continue with the overarching theme of love, relationships and heartbreak. Musically, the songs keep the rhythm lively and “Love Elevator” is a particularly funky song that has various enjoyable musical elements. However, the next track, “Haunted House”, was the first song on the album that felt out of place. The song fits with the album musically, relying on horns and brass at its core, but lyrically I felt like the song was ill written with some of the lyrics feeling forced and banal. Although the theme of love and relationships is still apparent in the work, the metaphor seemed too cliché compared to some of the excellent writing on the rest of the album.

“What’s Your Name” and “Love Maze” continue to lyrically emphasize themes of love, lust and relationships, while musically addressing elements of soul, funk and hints of R&B. There is very moving trumpet solo in “Love Maze” that really stood out to me, primarily because of the brilliant phrasing.

“Goodbye My Friend” is the last song on the album and appropriately so. Until this point, the album maintains a steady tempo and crosses multiple genres of soul and funk, but “Goodbye My Friend” is a powerful piano ballad that seems to capture the essence of passion in both Delbert’s voice and piano playing. Lyrically, the song is one of the most vulnerable and honest, with Delbert pouring his heart out: “I save my toughest days and cried so many tears with you by my side, I know they’ll come a day and I’ll look down at my feet and see your footprints next to mine, until then goodbye my friend…”

Overall, Let Me See Ya Dance encompasses themes of love and relationships, which looks at both the happy and the darker times in which one must find peace when confronted with betrayal or heartbreak. Although the majority of the songwriting focuses on the more benign moments in life, Delbert and fellow songwriters aren’t afraid to delve into darker feelings, such as on tracks “I’m Over You” or “Goodbye My Friend”.

One thing I would like to point out is that although the album was well produced, it does sound loud. I had to have my volume turned down to a quarter so the music was listenable. I’m not sure if this is a mixing issue or perhaps it’s the sensitivity of my headphones, but it was something I noticed almost instantly.

But nitpicking aside, Let Me See Ya Dance is a great piece of work that represents the genius that can occur when numerous singers and songwriters come together to collaborate. Ultimately, Brian Asselin and Delbert Nelson have touched upon something special with Let Me See Ya Dance and I thoroughly recommend it for those who find themselves craving the sounds of 1950’s and 60’s soul and funk blended with a todays modern sounds of R&B.

Review By: Ty Hooper





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