As debut albums go, Norman Kelsey’s unveiling as a solo star was nothing short of excellent. A Talent For Loving takes the young man on a ride that is heavily influenced by the sounds of Prince, soul masterpieces and the best that pop can inspire, a disparate range of emotions and one of the sweetest voices captured on disc.
Before the soul sound really took a hold on his second album, the stunning On The Rebound, this first offering was so cool it was permissible to wear shades whilst residing in its company and wallow in its superbly written arrangements and bask in the maturity. A Talent For Loving has that type of edge that drove fans wild over the aforementioned prince of pop but with none of the pretention that took hold of his career.
What you find sprinkled throughout the album are tracks that retain the idea of dance driven desirability and an honesty that is usually reserved for someone who has been around a few decades longer that Norman Kelsey has been. The hunger to get people to get up and take notice is a palpable beast, everyone has it somewhere within them but it some it enters the realms of being called a show-off or being detached from the audience. In Norman Kelsey’s case the music is the star, the vocal chords stretched to bursting in deference to the idea of what the young man is trying to get across.
There are some pretty amazing tracks on the record that just shout class, U Had The $, Everyone’s Ingenue, the fantastic Sucka and the storming Roosevelt’s Revue are class personified. You would perhaps expect a debut solo album to push the musician into being happy with just getting the name of the artist established, making sure that people knew who they were; not in Norman’s world, this is a young man who entered the world of music with all guns blazing and in desperate need of being told that no matter what he was going to be huge.
Ian D. Hall