The soul singing duo Myron & E, made up of Myron Glasper of Los Angeles and Eric Cooke of Newark, New Jersey met by way of being back-up singers for the Sacramento Hip-Hop duo Blackalicious. Myron having a background in dance (he previously worked with Rosie Perez on the 90’s show In Living Color), and Eric coming up as a record collector and DJ, I’m not sure how they managed to click so well. I’d also like to know exactly how Eric came to end up in a jam session with The Soul Investigators of England. However it happened, I’m glad it did because this grouping has managed to recapture an era of music that I thought was long gone.
Myron & E have found a home at Stones Throw Records, which is easily one of the most diverse collectives of any record label I know. Their debut album ‘Broadway’ is a trip down memory lane, bringing to mind soul groups of the 60’s-70’s such as The Whispers, The Stylistics, and The O’Jays…in 2013. Though there are only two vocalists, their manner of harmonizing coupled with The Soul Investigators’ retro-soul aesthetic makes them well-deserving to be mentioned along with some of the best acts of days past. Even though Myron & E recorded their vocals separate from the band playing, ‘Broadway’ is mixed so well, you’d think they were all in the same room for the whole album.
With the way it begins with a simple snare, bass guitar, and organ, opening track “Turn Back” sounded identical to songs I grew up on that my parents would play for me. Needless to say, I was able to connect with it fairly quickly. Myron and E go to work singing about a world filled with misery, pain, and destruction…but I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as I heard new music of the old-school soul variety. By the time they were singing “turrrrrrn back…turrrrrrn back…turn back the hands of time,” I was floored.
I’d like to think this is what many of us listen to music for: to be taken somewhere. In the case of ‘Broadway,’ it started doing the job from note one. “Turn Back” is followed by the titular track, an upbeat groove about courting relationships and “love at first sight.” I instantly noticed the tambourine being played on this track for some reason. It’s just not an instrument I hear much of anymore unless I go back and listen to my oldies collection. It’s an instant change of pace from the slow and moody lead-off.
‘Broadway’ continues going strong with the first single, “If I Gave You My Love.” Vocally, Myron and E go to a falsetto/baritone dynamic reminiscent of The Chi-lites. After three songs, they’ve shown an impressive amount of range, but it’s all packed with the elements of soul music from the good ol’ days. There’s even a song that’s started off by singing the days of the week (something I’m sure avid soul music listeners have heard more than once). Next is “Everyday Love,” the best example, with its great horns, of how these two guys can sound like bands that consisted of four to five members. It’s no wonder Myron and E have had sold-out shows before ever having produced an album.
Listening to ‘Broadway,’ it seems like there’s nothing Myron & E (with the Soul Investigators) can’t do in the soul music spectrum. Every song reminds me of songs I’ve heard before without sounding like rip-offs or covers. Kudos to Stones Throw Records for backing yet another strong music act at a time where much of the music being produced kind of runs together and produces few standouts.