July 2007

Marc Broussard - S.O.S.: Save Our Soul
Vanguard Records 79826-2A
Format: CD
Released: 2007

by Joseph Taylor

Musical Performance ***1/2
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

Singer Marc Broussard is only 25, but he is already a veteran musician. The Louisiana native began performing at age 5 with his father Ted, and he recorded his first disc, Momentary Setback, in 2002, when he was 20. S.O.S.: Save Our Soul is his third CD, and on it he sets himself the daunting task of covering ten songs by classic soul singers from the '60s and '70s. More than that, he has made it his mission with this recording to resurrect classic soul. "I want to take what was beautiful and right about old-school soul and make it alive again," he says on the promo sheet for the disc.

Broussard has a great voice for this music -- he sounds older than 25 -- and he has wisely chosen a mixture of soul chestnuts (Al Green’s "Love and Happiness," the Staple Singers’ "Respect Yourself") and lesser-known tunes by great singers (Bobby Womack’s "Harry Hippy," Rance Allen’s "Let the Music Get Down in Your Soul"). He bravely throws in a tune of his own, "Come In From the Cold," which manages to hold its own in such august company. Broussard’s band, along with a few guest musicians, nails the urban sophistication of Motown and the grit of Stax/Volt with equal aplomb. It stays close to the original arrangements, but injects enough of its own personality to keep the disc from becoming a pale imitation.

S.O.S.: Save Our Soul is cleanly recorded, with the instruments well separated and Broussard’s voice clearly focused. Youthful enthusiasm leads Broussard to over-emote occasionally, but most of the disc shows a singer with a deep understanding of classic soul.