Suggestion: swing by Illusion Theater before Always and Forever closes on Jan. 8. If you can’t make it down, buy the original cast CD. No need to thank me for the heads up. Consider it a public service announcement. And have a damned good time listening to some strong vocalists.
T. Mychael Rambo, Dennis Spears, Julius C. Collins III and Jackson M. Hurst deliver dynamite sounds. Harking to the late 50s through, oh, about the 80s, the disc is a delightful sampling of pop soul. Rambo serenades suave on Sam Cooke’s classic “You Send Me” and takes The Contours’ R&B rocker “Do You Love Me” straight to funky town. Spears does the unthinkable, covering mythic maestro Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love” with a deep blanket. Collins takes a turn on The Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around” that simply kills, making one wonder why they just don’t turn out sangers– not singers–like this anymore. Jackson Hurst on Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” signs, seals and delivers sheer dynamite.
The guys get together on harmonies for several cuts, including Blood, Sweat & Tears’ “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know,” The Main Ingredient’s “Everybody Plays The Fool,” The Dells’ “Stay In My Corner,” and Earth Wind & Fire’s “Sing A Song.” Making aural magic.
T. Mychael Rambo is renowned for his work at Penumbra Theatre Company, has worked extensively both across the country and internationally. His albums Gift, A Christmas With Love, and Simply are brisk sellers, showcasing strong, versatile range. Dennis Spears garnered an Ivey Award for his performance at Penumbra as Nat “King” Cole in I Wish You Love. He’s admirably acquitted by the album Why Try To Change Me Now. He’s also featured on Jevetta Steele’s CD Two Queens, One Castle. Julius C. Collins III is an R&B legend on the Twin Cities scene. Long-time front man for popular funksters Greazy Meal and briefly part of pop-rock outfit The Truth, Collins has generated such following as to virtually be an institution. Jackson M. Hurst has rocked houses at The Guthrie Theater, Penumbra Theatre Company, History Theater and stinted with nationally acclaimed James Grear and Company.
Christmas has come and gone. Want to make up for anyone who’s stocking you forgot to stuff. Give them Always and Forever. Corny as it may sound, they will—take it to the bank—always and forever be glad you did.
Photo courtesy Illusion Theater
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