Apparently transcending its subject matter - the straightforward expression of dedication and devotion - this song by Evans Pyramid thus makes the music's message ambiguous. Universal, while deeply personal.
I can’t think of another vocal performance in the genre that sounds remotely like this (sleep-walking, half-asleep allowing the music to generate the mood of determination, which it does in abundance). On one level, this ‘sleepiness’ gives the impression that this is an arch, knowing performance, similar to those of shoe-gaze type groups from the UK in the 90s, not a man singing how he’ll forever stay true.
Yet largely because of the music – this development, building sense of momentum and sharp sounds that play against the deep foundations of the bass line/drums - this song conveys a message of faith, hope and resilience. Rather than a lover singing to the one he loves, it might be an inner voice, singing how it will soon be over, singing to you as if you were a child, cradling your body, offering comfort.
There is such vulnerability in this man’s voice; it seems like he is expressing something close to his heart and very being. (This is why I feel it might in fact be him singing to his own self rather than a second person).
Writing in Pop Matters Elias Leight comments in light of “Never gonna leave you”
"During opener “Never Gonna Leave You”, there are soft harmonies, sweet and wonderfully melancholy. The way the melody turns a corner about two minutes in, very slowly and steadily, seems like a perfect expression of the song’s sentiment, faithful and inevitable."
Faithful and inevitable.
Then, providing more information about the group:
"Evans Pyramid is the project of Andre Evans, one of those musicians who few people have heard of, despite him having played with a number of important figures in jazz, soul and funk. He came up as a drummer and worked with Grant Green, the famous jazz guitarist, and “Brother” Jack McDuff, a talented Hammond B-3 organ player. Soon he moved on to soul groups, playing with Dyke and the Blazers (of “Funky Broadway” fame), the Delfonics (who played a role in developing the lush Philadelphia soul sound), Isaac Hayes (who wrote huge hits for Stax and wildly ambitious solo albums) and Little Anthony (a master of doo-wop-esque ballads)."
You can read the rest of the article here. From the same release/reissue, something completely different, simply beautiful …