It was long after it ceased to be “news” in any tangible sense that I learned of the passing of MJ White, one of the real architects of the Soulful House sound of New York City in its golden years through tracks like “Still Irresistible.” Like many vocalists and songwriters (and he did both), White deserved the long-standing acclaim ascribed instead to many of the producers that he worked with. He was however discovered and celebrated in the South African scene (or maybe it was the reverse and he discovered them), and some of his best later records were championed by names like Lemon & Herb.
Two years after MJ White passed away (too early, everyone says), “Are You Waitin'” serves as a kind of tribute and reminder of the genius still locked in so many vinyl grooves. Carlos Vargas’ Spiritual Mix starts out simple, stripped down, almost like a child’s song but builds in emotion and intensity. Ricky Inch’s Vocal Mix is slinky and sophisticated; the Ossom Reprise presents White with a blank canvas he fills like a master artist, that unmistakable voice wrapped thick in disembodied passages from organs, flutes, keys and the barest hint of percussion. What a wonderful tribute this is to the genius of a solitary man.
Carlos Vargas & Ricky Inch present MJ White: Are You Waitin (Ossom Records)
1. Carlos Vargas & Ricky Inch present MJ White: Are You Waitin (Carlos Vargas Spiritual Mix)
2. Carlos Vargas & Ricky Inch present MJ White: Are You Waitin (Ricky Inch Vocal Mix)
3. Carlos Vargas & Ricky Inch present MJ White: Are You Waitin (Ossom Reprise)