Personnel: Phil Perry (background vocals); Chris "Big Dog" Davis (various instruments); Rohn Lawrence, Wayne Bruce (guitar); Kim Waters (saxophone); Tim Maia (background vocals).
With his mingling of lower toned vocal sensuality and a gospel-inflected falsetto, the veteran soul singer is one of urban jazz's greatest links to the era when greats like Marvin Gaye and Teddy Pendergrass reigned. After launching his stint on Shanachie mining the wonders of the past with Classic Love Songs and A Mighty Love, Perry at last emerged with a collection with only two covers (spot on, low-key, and lovely spins on "Shower the People" and "Walk on By") and eight solid originals penned by either the singer, his producer Chris "Big Dog" Davis, or a combination of both. From the soothing, retro-soul flavored opener "Desire" through the easy, thumping and playful "Shine on Me" and the gentle and moody "The Shelter of Your Heart," Perry lives up to his mission of fulfilling the gap of traditional R&B stylings in the modern pop marketplace. Though most of these warm, intimate, and easily rhythmic songs cover the joyful side of love and romance, Perry and Davis are infinitely more clever on "Why Why Why," which, with the help of guest vocalist Salena, sets up a fascinating dialogue between a frustrated woman and her defensive lover who insists he loves her despite some suspect treatment. Perry has always been a master at expressing the many facets and complexities of love through his music, and Ready for Love continues his solid commitment to the romantic in everyone. ~ Jonathan Widran