For some unknown reason, guitarist Patrick Yandall has continued to remain under the radar. Why? I will never know. Each album he creates continues to show new and more creative aspects of his music. Samoa Soul is no exception. This time Patrick reaches back into his heritage and takes on an island flavor. Not only does he pick up the electric and acoustic guitars on this new project, but he also adds his touch on bass, piano, Rhodes, some vocals, and drum programming.
The CD opens with the title track, a very upbeat tune with a catchy melody. Patrick’s guitar is full of life. “Fade To Black” adds the Rhodes alongside the guitar, which gives kind of a Steely Dan meets Acoustic Alchemy feel! Each note of this track feels exaggerated so you can clearly feel the music. “Londons Way” is dark and moody. The guitar takes you on a melancholy journey and the subtle piano anchors the mood with a great mid-song solo.
“Funkin’ for Jamaica” is a terrific cover of the Tom Browne hit from 1980. The horns and guitar mesh so well you might forget about the original version. This is a totally pumped-up funky track. “Smile for Today” should be the anthem for any island vacation. With its breezy, relaxed feel, the fluid melody makes you want to kick back and just soak it in. The guitar work is really crisp and fun. Next up is a perfect smooth jazz track, “Passion Avenue.” This is a definite radio-friendly song with a terrific melody. Patrick makes his guitar sing and harmonize well with the piano. It’s a close-your-eyes-and-savor-the-moment kind of tune.
“The Beat Generation” shows us where Patrick Yandall can take his music. This is pure guitar. It’s funky and upbeat, but not overpowering. Masterful. A cover of the Christopher Cross hit, “Sailing” fits the island theme, although it slows the pace of the CD down a bit. Patrick gives it new flavor with his guitar prowess, but it’s almost a little out of place in the mix. For some real island sounds, check out “Who’s the Bossa.” You can almost immediately feel your hips swaying and a cool ocean breeze catching every guitar note. “Back in the Day” again teams up the guitar and Rhodes playing note for note as the song opens. Patrick then takes his guitar on a playful trip down memory lane. This R&B-laden truly shows how much soul this man has. Closing out the CD is “Dawn Patrol.” It seems like Patrick was really in the groove on this one. You can feel his spirit in this tune which seems relaxed and from the heart.
This CD is just another example of the talent that Patrick Yandall possesses. There are several original tracks on this CD that should be out there on the radio for all to hear, but in this time of a love affair with cover songs, you’ll just have to pick up Samoa Soul to experience the flavor.
- Bonnie Schendell