Hidden Beach Presents “The Original Jill Scott – From The Vault Vol. 1”

Album Review: Jill Scott, Hidden Beach Presents the Original Jill Scott, Vol. 1
by Brent Faulkner

Hidden Beach Recordings was the home to R&B singer/poet Jill Scott
up until her 2007 LP The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3; latest
studio effort The Light of the Sun was released on Scott’s own Blues
Babe Records and distributed through Warner Brothers Records. The break
between Scott and Hidden Beach was not without its disputes and
controversy, however the result is a somewhat of a win for both parties –
the release of unreleased cuts from the singer which profits both
entities. Hidden Beach Presents the Original Jill Scott, Vol. 1 is by no
means a new studio album from Scott and ultimately, it falls short of
the quality that her studio releases have come to be characterized by.
That said, the compilation does show how marvelously talented, soulful,
and creative Jill Scott is.

Following a :25 intro (“Love to Love Prelude”), Scott digs right in on
the studio-album worthy “I Don’t Know (Gotta Have You).” “I Don’t Know
(Gotta Have You)” features incredibly soulful production work and a
fine, nuanced vocal performance by Scott. A solid opening cut and
distinct track, one is hard-pressed to crown any other cut valedictory
compared to this one. The background vocals are just one if many nice
touches. “Wondering Why. (You Don’t Talk To Me)” is another solid cut
featuring sound and soulful production work that suits the soul singer
well. The cut is a bit lazy, but more enjoyable than not. Despite its
length that is under four minutes, the cut could be shortened a bit
given its repetitiveness towards the end. “The Light (Original Mix)” is
another solid, well executed cut, though it falls short of the glory of
the excellent opener “I Don’t Know Why (I Gotta Have You).” The vocals
(lead and background) are solid and help to shape the cut into the great
entity that it is. So far so good Ms. Scott.

“Wake Up Baby” shines brightly given it’s soul-laden production
(guitar, organ). A cover of Bill Withers’s soul classic “Lovely Day”
proves to be another shining moment. If a quibble were to be made about
the cover, one might wish Scott had sang in her upper register to begin
with as opposed to her lower register. Either way, Scott sounds
incredibly sultry and achieves some fine, truly soulful grit by the end.
“Dear Mr. & Mrs. Record Industry” isn’t bad, though it definitely
feels more like a compilation or mix tape selection as opposed to a
studio album track, probably why it was unreleased. The sound is bluesy
and the use background vocals helps to make this ‘B+’ cut shine. “Love
to Love” is a bit of an oddity, placing Scott against more hip-hop
oriented production work, something most Scott fans are not as
accustomed to. While Scott never emulates more hip-hop oriented
artists, the sound is a bit different and takes some adjusting to get
used to.

“Running Away” is a suite (think “Le BOOM Suite” from The Light of the
Sun). Albeit captivating, at over twelve minutes, “Running Away” is a
bit of a juggernaut. “I’m Prettier” is a bit all over the place, but
not bad while “Comes to Light (Everything)” restores any lost
focus/momentum o this effort. “Holding On” features nice jazz-laden
production work, but is a bit sleepy. “The Light” reappears, this time
as a clever ‘piano mix.’ Live cut “And I Heard…(Do You Understand)”
closes the album capably. Scott’s vocals are most amazing when she
really gets into the cut.

Overall, Hidden Beach Presents the Original Jill Scott, Vol. 1 is a
mixed bag of material from the hailed singer. It is a great
representation of Scott’s creativity and artistry, even when some
material fails to allure as much as her best studio endeavors. For any
hardcore Jill Scott fan, Hidden Beach Presents the Original Jill Scott,
Vol. 1 is a great addition to the album collection. Some casual
listeners will dig and appreciate it as well.

Brent Faulkner
The Urban Music Scene

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