Thursday, June 17, 2021

Sharon Lee Williams: Demo (EP) (Lenz Entertainment, 1996)

I have found a lot of great R&B and soul music from Canada over the years; Ora, Divine Earth Essence, Wade O. Brown and many others have more than convinced me that the Great White North was more than capable of competing with the US when it comes to great R&B and soul music. This particular vocalist has a pretty interesting backstory, to me at least. A child of the 80s, I had heard her biggest hit (with Sway) “Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart)” an innumerable amount of times. It was somewhat of a one hit wonder back then but owing to its upbeat Caribbean flavor would frequently be the song of choice for many parties through until at least the early 90s. Prior to Sway, she was also the lead vocalist for Canadian soul outfit Basic Black and Pearl and performed backing vocals for Marc Jordan, The Whiteley Brothers, Bruce Cockburn, Glass Tiger and even Alice Cooper. She released her own single “Your Place or Mine” on Virgin in 1989 but it wasn’t much of a hit. Sadly, outside of Sway, her most notable work to date has been providing the voices for characters on Jim Henson shows and as a vocal coach on Canadian Idol. The above recordings were made in 1996 and the disc – a TDK CD-R74BX – actually dates from around 1997 (outside of the music it contains, it is quite a scarce disc apparently.) Mainly a mixture of gorgeous 90s jazzy modern soul and sophisticated “grown-up” R&B, I am inclined to believe the 7-song set may have been recorded for film of television use but not entirely certain. The production company Lenz Entertainment was established as a company in 1997. Another fantastic find.

I'm Addicted    4:45   
Always And Forever    5:45   
Love Takes No Prisoners    5:09   
If You Could Only See Me    4:26   
Pain    4:17   
Can I Trust You    5:03   
Here I Am    5:11