Album Reviews

Various Artists

Afterschool Special: The 123s Of Kid Soul

Artist:     Various Artists

Album:     Afterschool Special: The 123s Of Kid Soul

Label:     The Numero Group

Release Date:     09/16/2016

85

This CD isn’t for everybody, but it should be. The concept is simple and rare: take at-risk kids and give them music projects instead of unsupervised downtime. Here, 19 young African-American groups, ranging from the Bethlehem Center Children’s Choir to Five Ounces of Soul, perform pop, soul and a bit of rap, to heartwarming effect. If you ever liked the Jackson 5, this may be your ticket to Heaven.

The Brighter Side of Darkness spins a love song like Barry White before his voice changed, and Scott Three funks it up on “Runnin’ Wild (Ain’t Gonna Help You). I can picture the groups’ moves on both Soul Emotions & Co. and Brotherly Love as they sing about love and loss, something they probably learned about last year, in Middle School.

Perfect? Professional? 100% even quality? No, but there’s a ton of talent here, and it’s for damn sure 100% real, which is more than we can say for Top 40 radio. We could do worse than spend a couple bucks on this project, both for the music and for the community.

—Suzanne Cadgène

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