Raphael Saadiq (nee Charlie Ray Wiggins) used to sing for an R&B group called Tony! Toni! Toné! — readers of a certain age will remember their hits from the late ’80s and early ’90s.
After that whole New Jack Swing business died out, Saadiq put out a few more albums in various guises but mostly focused on producing and working with other artists, becoming something of a elder statesmen in the soul/R&B scene.
This year he released his third solo album, the first in four years, and it’s a doozy. The Way I See It is a righteous bit of retro soul that completely strips away the glossy, synth-y sheen that has befouled soul music for so long in favor of something that could have come straight out of Motown or Stax. It has that echo-y sound of a band and a singer in a real room, playing live. It’s homage, verging on photocopy, sure, but the source material is good and Saadiq captures its virtues well.
This song seems apropos: “Keep Marchin'”