Anthony Hamilton is a rare breed; ever since So, So Def’s Jermaine Dupri introduced him to the world with the complete classic Comin’ From Where I’m From, mainstream music finally began to hear what real soul music sounded like. With a distinct, unique voice that only Otis Redding could rival and a sound that would make Marvin Gaye or grassroots blues proud of, Hamilton truly became a throwback. If he lived in decades gone, he’d probably be one of the world’s biggest stars, but instead today he shows a modern audience just how good music used to … and can still sound. After more releases, Hamilton has been off the scene since his great The Point Of It All release and his work on the Denzel Washington movie American Gangster‘s soundtrack; still, now he’s back with Back To Love.
This album begins with this feel-good, up-tempo album-titled track and from there we are immersed in the soul-satisfying world of Anthony Hamilton. Let his gravelly voice take you down a road of real music built from a mix of hard times blended with high spirits. Close your eyes and you’ll have no idea where you are. It could be middle America or the mid-seventies. Writing On The Wall further inscribes this notion, while Woo, will have you whooping and hollering in harmony all night long. Pray For Me and Best Of Me stir the soul further as this singer bares all of his. Even with five tracks in, we already have a real good album … early.
Hamilton keeps it going on the freeway with a musical accompaniment for car journeys fitting any mood. On Never Let Go (featuring the star power of young R&B princess Keri Hilson) he never lets up, so just sit back and take in all the great music. Hamilton’s crazy talent gets stronger on Mad, before he breaks it down on the dedicated devotion of I’ll Wait (To Fall In Love). On Sucka For You and Baby Girl Anthony keeps the heart beating on his love songs before getting real personal and at his most perfect on the bluesy questions of Who’s Loving You.
To end this album, Anthony Hamilton inspires with all his rags to riches influence on Life Has A Way. This is the kind of What’s Going On, A Change Is Gonna Come type record that’s been passed down from the generations of legends like Marvin and Sam Cooke. As Anthony Hamilton proves he could go down next to the best of the past, it’s important not to ignore or cast him aside now. Whether you’re a hardcore fan or just heard his distinct drawl on the radio for the first time, thinking; “when was this record made”? It’s important to recognise real music that’s still very much alive today like the memory of the real soul artists whose sound has been borrowed and stolen by some modern artists who aren’t worth their salt or status. This original, soul man is worth his, however. It’s time to be re-introduced to real music of depth and devotion again. Music that can make you feel good, sad, but more importantly, make you think. It’s time to be re-introduced to realness. His name is Anthony Hamilton. TIM DAVID HARVEY.