Mica Paris is probably one of the most respected women in the UK soul music scene. She started to sing in her early teens in church and was a experienced session singer by the age of 16, principally on tracks by Shakatak. When she was performing with the Spirits of Watts she were encouraged by the Hollywood Beyond, which she joined for a tour. The tour preceded her solo contract with 4th & Broadway/ Island records. Mica Paris nurtured a sophisticated soul image at promotion performanceīs at Londonīs Ronnie Scottīs Club in 1987 and 1988.
On the debut album So Good Mica Paris huge sound and soul- and r&b -oriented material were far apart from the ultra-smooth and polished urban contemporary that was commonplace at the time. All this and some dance touches made the album very attractive.
Despite better material, she collaborated with Prince on some songs, better production and cameos by Rakim and Danny D, Mica Parisīs underrated second album Contribution didnt enjoy the same response. Contribution spawned no singles chart entries but Paris did remain a mainstay of the British soul forum. One single South Of The River was taken from the album - itīs flip side the Omar produced I Shouldīve Known Better soon became a staple item in the discerning DJīs set which maintained a demand for the track. It has been re-released on The Rebirth Of Cool vol 2.
On Black Angel a slightly different, darker and perhaps a more mature singer steps into focus.
Perfect with a stripped down beat and bass, built on Bob Marleyīs Could You Be Loved, leaves plenty of space for Paris voice - cool, hard and relentless she makes her point in a ended relation. Here are the groovy and dance oriented single Stay with a huge b-line and the sensuous Carefree.
In my book Black Angel is a declaration of desire and love in the deep soul tradition of southern soul sisters like Candi Staton, Betty Wright or Laura Lee, to name but a few. A fantastic singer has made a great soul album, contemporary and yet in contact with the soul tradition. Mica Paris is once again proving that less is more in her faultless produced new album.
MARLENA SHAW ISOLÉE MAE BAD BOY
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PRESENCE NINA SIMONE
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