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Friday, Jan 29 2016 | 04:35
Image: 1601653 Way ahead of its time and profoundly relevant in these dark days, Andy Bey's masterful Experience And Judgment is music to soothe the soul. From the striking cover art to the music contained within, this is as beautiful a record as you're likely to come across. Against a backdrop of heavenly cosmic soul and spiritual jazz-funk, Bey delivers eternal messages of universal love and peace that still possess great power. Greatly revered by the rare soul and funk community, this album is hugely in demand on vinyl. It has received one - poor quality - repress since its initial 1974 release so Be With Records do us all a favour by presenting a timely and official 180 gram edition.

One of the most criminally underrated singers in all music, Andy Bey's work with Horace Silver and Gary Bartz especially was nothing short of phenomenal. However, it's his only album from the 70s that is widely regarded as his masterpiece. A one of a kind poetic suite, his spellbinding voice - an operatic baritone - is in extraordinary shape and his delivery goes beyond anything he'd previously committed to tape. The lyrical content reveals an optimistic and spiritual side - brimming with fire and heart - that is wonderfully complimented by his uplifting jazz-funk ensemble.

Opener "Celestial Blues" instantly sets the spine-tingling tone that doesn't let up for the entirety of this mind-expanding journey. A more sober version than the one recorded with Bartz' NTU Troop, its delicate mix is certainly more engaging. You'd think it impossible to follow that, yet the 11 subsequent tracks all flirt with perfection. Combining propulsive gospel flavours with deep, mellow vibes that vary the pace and levels of funk throughout, this is one metaphysical, sensual ride that will expand your mind, lest it wither and die.

Fans of deep soul in general and, in particular, artists such as Gil Scott-Heron, Roy Ayers, Bill Withers, Lonnie Liston Smith, Minnie Riperton and Billy Paul need to check this record.

1 Celestial Blues
2 Experience
3 Judgment
4 I Know This Love Can't Be Wrong
5 Hibiscus
6 You Should've Seen The Way
7 Tune Up
8 Rosemary Blue
9 Being Uptight
10 A Place Where Love Is
11 Trust Us To Find The Way
12 The Power Of My Mind

Available from 11.03.2016
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