Recorded in one session by inmates incarcerated for a range of offences (one was jailed after his car was stolen and used in a robbery), this is one remarkable song from a wonderful release that came to light in 2015, after being overlooked and forgotten for years.
Marcus J Moore's article in Pitchfork on the 2015 reissue is fascinating and comprehensive, read it here - I was tempted to republish the entire piece, it's that good; this Noisey interview by J Bennett with lead vocalist, Jamal Jahal Nubi is similarly full of insight.
Another article/review rather churlishly at the time of the reissue said the album wouldn't unseat any of the soul greats, I'm not sure. This song is quite beautiful, primarily for the vocal performance, it has a very distinctive quality. Yearning, longing are staples in soul music - one of the key default lyrical positions - and yet Jamal Jahal Nubi's vocals take it one step further. He expresses his desire, while his voice has a swing to it that's unusual.
There's no stop/start here, it's constant and a perfect reflection of what's happening musically, as carried by the bassline; this is swooning music in excelsis that also makes space for unexpected elements, check out what happens for about ten seconds from 2'30". This, as I mentioned in an earlier post, is one of the most interesting to me aspects of the genre - see, for example, Aretha Franklin's 'Day Dreaming' from her 1972 record, Young, Gifted & Black - with Donny Hathaway on electric piano, as Wik explains: 'The single version omits the jazzy daydreaming like music, heard in the beginning and the ending of the song, where even the vocals sounded too psychedelic for most radio airplay.'
The song was used in the soundtrack for Barry Jenkins' film, Moonlight; here's my appreciation of the film published one year ago.