Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 April 2015

Album: John Legend & the Roots, Wake Up! (Columbia)

Theres never a wrong time to revisit the core values of Seventies soul and funk, though it may have been more effective for John Legend & The Roots to release Wake Up!, a selection of politicised black covers from that era, during a previous administration's tenure, when the admonition was more pertinent.

As it is, there's something a touch too comfortable about the project, which favours smooth over gritty throughout. Rappers Common and The Roots' own Black Thought pop up to add a sharper edge to some tracks, but picking the nebulous Wholy Holy as the Marvin Gaye cover speaks volumes about the general tone. The best track is the longest, a version of Bill Withers' disabled-soldier lament I Can't Write Left-Handed, which builds up a head of steam over 12 minutes.

DOWNLOAD THIS I Can't Write Left-Handed; Wake Up Everybody; Hard Times

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