Mickey Stevenson Here I Am

Mickey Stevenson Here I Am
Stevenson was a key producer for Motown in the '60s, but had moved on by the following decade. Like many ex-Motowners, he found himself doing work on the West Coast. This disc was somewhat accidental; his label boss observed Stevenson doing demo vocals and decided to green light his first solo album. Frankly, Stevenson is better suited to a more limited role; his voice, though soulfully phrased, strains at both high and low notes. His production is quite worthwhile, melding singer-songwriter wordiness to country, psychedelic soul, throwback Motown grooves or near-soft rock. The band (recorded in New York, apparently) dispense solid grooves throughout. The combination of elements gusts to the ingenious on tracks like "Trouble's A Loser," but missteps like his cover of "Rocky Raccoon" or the contrived "Joe Poor (Loves Daphne Elizabeth Rich)" take away from the effort. Still, this, along with a Carol Woods LP of similar vintage, marks the Fantastic Voyage label as a new player in the soul reissues game, and that's a good thing. (Fantastic Voyage)