R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

VOICES Notes and news on R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax releases

Ware's Love Ride

07 AUG 08 DAVID NATHAN

The new Stax album by multi-talented singer/songwriter and producer Leon Ware may be called Moon Ride, but it could just as easily have been called Love Ride. Leon himself says it simply: "I use the bedroom as my temple, sex as a religion and music as my ministry, sensuality and spirituality blended together at the same time."

This brilliant new project -- Leon's first major label album in two decades -- is filled with songs like "Hold Tonight," "Just Take Your Time," "Loceans" and "To Serve You (All My Love)." They reflect Leon's stance as a love-healing mood-maker.

Soul music aficionados in the U.K., Europe and Japan have enjoyed a longtime love affair with Leon and his music through nine albums including 1977's groundbreaking Musical Massage and, more recently, Candelight and A Kiss In The Sand. The Detroit-native's credits as a songwriter and producer is impressive. He produced Marvin Gaye's classic I Want You and has written songs for Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Minnie Riperton, Donny Hathaway and Maxwell. He's also a favorite of various hip-hop artists looking for samples.

Moon Ride is fresh yet evocative of a time when records were made with a coherent and cohesive theme. Romance and sensuality are at the very heart of the album, be it the self-explanatory "Smoovin,'" the beautifully acoustic "Soon" or the provocative "From Inside," which begs reference to Leon's classic "Inside My Love," recorded by Riperton.