Graham Clark, Music Features Writer

Giants Of Soul – A Tower Of Power

Gwen Dickey
Gwen Dickey
With a tour named Giants of Soul the title could equally apply to the artists or the songs they performed on a night where the audience were taken for an enjoyable ride on this particular soul train.

Over the past forty years these acts have graced the charts, sold millions of records and in some cases won Grammy Awards.

For one night only the audience at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax were treated to three hours of non-stop hits. Candace Woodson recently topped the UK Soul Chart Top 100; her smooth presentation seemed ideal to open up the evening, although her requests to the audience to sway from side to side and to clap loudly when the acts arrived on stage, seemed to belong to a pantomime show rather than at a soul revue.

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Janet Kay
Janet Kay
Jaki Graham
Jaki Graham
]
Though it might have appeared that Janet Kay with her style of lovers rock was the odd one out on the bill, the London born singer still delighted with a faithful rendition of her 1979 Number 1 – Silly Games, though her brave move of covering the Minnie Ripperton classic Lovin’ You fell short of the original version.

The trademark double breasted suit that Alexander O’ Neal used to wear might have been consigned to the wardrobe, however his soulful voice shone on hits such as If You Were Here Tonight, Fake and the evergreen Criticize.

Jacki Graham effortlessly took to the stage, as the time machine took the audience back to the mid-eighties with Step Right Up, Round and Around and Could It Be I’m Falling in Lovewhich made you wonder why the singer is still not gracing the charts in 2022. Her warm and enthusiastic manner seemed to be natural, which resonated with her fans.

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Denise Williams
Denise Williams
Alexander O'Neil
Alexander O'Neil
]
Gwen Dickey – the voice of Rose Royce arrived in Halifax on what is to be part of her farewell tour. After experiencing a spinal cord injury over ten years ago the singer still had the powerful vocal chords that made Love Don’t Live Here Anymore one of the highlights of the evening that was not lost on one fan who shouted out at the end of the track “You’ve got some lungs” to a surprised Dickey.

Denise Williams shared that she was a big fan of Last Tango in Halifax whilst relating stories of her time on tour as a backing singer for Stevie Wonder. The Grammy award winning singer relied on her big hits Free and Let’s Hear It for The Boy to elevate her performance which appeared to make the atmosphere drop earlier after the consummate presentation from Gwen Dickey.

Tunde Baiyewu – the voice of The Lighthouse Family found fame in a later decade than other artists on the bill with Ocean Drive being the hit most people remember him for. An unexpected duet with Denise Williams on Too Much, Too Little, Too Late rounded off an evening that proved this battle of the giants had been almost equally won.