Soul Album Review: Eric Roberson's "The Appetizer"
Editor-in-Chief, Neo Soul Today
Ever since releasing his underground soul classic, "The Vault Vol. 1.5" (Steel Petal, 2004), Eric Roberson has been on a very short list of my all-around favorite artists. Last week, I purchased the Rahway, New Jersey native's latest CD "The Appetizer" (2005, Blue Erro Soul). Let's just say that my expectations were dangerously high and my disappointment was satisfyingly low.
Eric originally intended to make an E.P. of five new songs "to satisfy people's hunger, till [his] album came out next year." However according to his CD insert, "I couldn't settle on what five to choose from so I did ten...A range of old and new songs that show my growth, my soul, and my love for honest music." And that he did.
"The Appetizer" takes the listener through a pleasant journey of different sounds, styles, and subject matter. The vibes range from a modern soulful freestyle with Floetry's Marsha Ambrosius (Track 1), works reminiscent of the best of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Pete Rock (Tracks 2, 9 and 10), a smooth ballad (Track 5), early 90s-centric slow jams reminiscent of Aaron Hall and Guy (Track 8), and more.
Listen to my favorite tracks from "The Appetizer"
My Favorite Tracks from "The Appetizer"
(NOTE: I've included the excerpts of Eric's liner notes for each track as they tell a story)
1. N2U (feat. Marsha Ambrosius) - "If you've been to my show you know I like to freestyle. Well this song we sang completely off the head. One take each... No protocols, auto tune, etc... Marsha is my heart man. We did this the same night as 'She Ought To Know'. She heard it and the rest is history."
2. What I Gotta Do? - "Kev [Brown] and I are building an amazing musical partnership. Not only is he one of the craziest visionaries behind the MP, but the most humble cat you'll ever meet."
5. Just A Dream - "I wrote this song in college one lonely Saturday night sitting with my guitar. Years later when Larry Gold asked me to be on his album I dusted this baby off and gave it to him. One of my greatest musical memories was walking into the studio and hearing Larry's 18 piece orchestra playing to my song."
6. Softest Lips - "This song was one of the million we recorded during my years recording and developing myself at A Touch of Jazz Studios. Out of all the producers there at that time I bonded musically with Vidal the most."
8. The Moon - "I did this song when I was a sophomore at Howard University & an artist on Warner Brothers back in 93-94. I left school, shot a video, went on tour, moved to a big apartment, and thought I was a star... Well I also went broke, lost my deal, humbled myself, went back to school and GRADUATED, and became a much better preson than I thought I was then."
9. We Can't Pretend - "Another key joint that I wrote with my boy Pete. That's right a co-write with someone... I do that sometimes. Yo Pete has developed into a great writer and dope artist so keep a look out for Peter Hadar."
10. For Da Love Of Da Game (feat. Raheem DeVaughn and V) - "This song means so much to me because it involves two of my favorite singers & writers. V, who inspired me to follow the music in my heart and Raheem, who reminds me of me when I was younger."
I highly recommend buying "The Appetizer" from dustygroove.com, cdbaby.com, or directly from Eric's website (http://www.ericrobersonmusic.com).
4 out of 5 stars