Will Downing – Will Downing (1988): Review

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Label – Island/Polygram

Soul crooners from the 80’s were ten a penny, with the likes of Luther Vandross, Alexander O’Neal, Freddie Jackson and George Benson all vying for the top spot on the Soul Train show. So strong was the competition at the time that Will Downing’s debut almost passed by without any recollection. The fact that he’s still recording today shows the mark of an artist with grit and determination, if not the best tunes. Having read reviews for his later releases, one finds that Downing releases consistently inconsistent albums, with one or two strong songs and the rest a mix of mundane filler, and that can be said for this debut “Will Downing”.

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Having launched his career doing sessions for the likes of Marc Sadane and Jennifer Holiday, Downing hooked up with Producer Arthur Baker and signed up with Island Records. The result is “Will Downing” which initially sold reasonably well, encouraged by the success of the John Coltrane penned “A Love Supreme” which is the outstanding moment from the album. The rest of the album is pretty much soul fodder, particularly the self penned numbers. Downing has a distinct Soul voice, but unfortunately, judging by this album he’s no great shakes as a songwriter. Barring the single and a reasonable version of Deniece Williams’ “Free” the rest of the material just drifts by and is far from memorable.

Bland isn’t a strong enough word for this album.

5/10

Track Listing
In My Dreams 4:57
Do You? 5:11
Free 5:55
A Love Supreme 4:05
Security 4:00
Set Me Free 4:02
Sending Out An S.O.S. 4:21
Dancing In The Moonlight 5:11
Do You Remember Love? 3:59

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