Witness

by Derek Lassiter

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Quote: "Like the lost child of James Brown's Black Caesar soundtrack, Derek Lassiter brings us an EP of dark soul."

Like the lost child of James Brown's Black Caesar soundtrack, Derek Lassiter brings us an EP of dark soul -- the kind of moody, haunting soul that is the lesser known sibling of vastly more popular approaches to the genre such as much of Green, Paul or Womack's music.

"Hunger," the opening track, positively pulses with the throbs of its eponymous condition. It's the kind of song you expect to be in a blacksploitation film or -- at the risk of being redundant -- something by Tarantino. It's one of the most rich and satisfying soul songs I've come across in some time.

Other work on the record unapologetically adopts African rhythms, such as the background chanting and drumming on "I'll Grow." But instead of sounding like some kind of two-dimensional cultural homage, Lassiter works in a jazzy piano and the lowest registers of a piano keyboard sounding out that dark brooding which infuses this entire EP.

"Victor (I Am Waiting)" brings a crisp small-gospel handclap-and-choir sound and "Keep Me" closes the EP with Lassiter's excellent voice front and center in an almost Harold Arlenesque ballad.

Short and sweet, Lassiter's Witness is ultimately asking us to acknowledge the coming not of a new messiah but instead a new musical offering by an obvious talent ... and you very well may want to witness this talent yourself.
- By Todd Beemis

credits

released February 21, 2006

Beevine Records

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Derek Lassiter San Francisco, California

Vocalist/Songwriter

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Track Name: Hunger
I got hungry
No food in my house
I thirsted, thirsted, thirsted
No water not a drop
So I set out on the road to find...
Home held but want and need
An emptiness I had to feed
Weak of mind and in my soul
All I had was what I stole

(No one to confide, no one to provide...)

On the road were friends, foes, and thieves
Passing by with their needs
‘Til one day I saw in the open sky
The promise to be fed and to fly
Track Name: Pool
Pool

I was lost, couldn’t find, couldn’t see
And the truth was light—fell on me

...of light, of water, of blood
Is what I had to find
To fall into, restore my state
Of hope, faith, and dreaming
Things I’d turned away
And didn’t know would lead me home

I was lost and on the gift of love I traded
Cut my heart and in a pool of blood I waded

...of light, of water, of blood
I was baptized, restored my joy
And filled me up with
Hope, faith, and dreaming
Things that once were mine
And faded like the sun gone down

Nights were long, but there were stars always reminding
Nothing’s lost, it’s never dark enough to stop love shining
Track Name: I'll Grow
High in the desert sky the sun is bright
Land so dry sand is all that thrives

Sky will never rain again never open wide
A seed lays hard against the ground... never lives but never dies

I wait for tears like the desert waits for rain
I know when they come, I’ll grow like a forest in the sun

I wait for you like a lover waits in vain
For the one that glows the moon and shines the sun...

No matter how long I will wait, it’s the laughter
When all the tears have cried that I’m after

To grow and grow and grow
Is what I’m after

No feeling where there used to be
where I used to feel the most
thought I was stronger

Wide eyed and waiting
to see a miracle
jaded heart and diamond feet

Feel something and so I’ll speak
lost dreams lost loves
miss-steps and wrong turns

And so many, so many tears
Track Name: Victor (I Am Waiting) featuring Lady Mem’fis
I am waiting on a man with a heart like a boy
Not the dangerous kind, killing flowers of joy
Whose way is of peace and whose stand is at ease
I’ll keep waiting until all hope runs to sea

I am praying for understanding too
‘Cause I don’t know as much as I think I do
Oh I run so hard got to learn to be still
Trust that there is a plan, let things do what they will

Victor waiting on you with your heart pure as gold
Not the dangerous kind that gets bought and sold
Your way is of peace and you stand so at ease
I’ll keep waiting until all hope runs to sea

We like heat from the fire, but we play too close
With the blade of a knife, cut as deep as it goes
Still love grows strong, in spite of all it carries on
Like a stream to the river, like the river to the sea

I’ll keep waiting until I know you are for me
I’ll keep waiting until I am truly free
I’ll keep waiting until all hope runs to sea
Track Name: Keep Me
When trials and troubles come
I draw on the strength of love
It keeps me and holds me, helps me stand
Though winds blow and rain tumbles down

Even when light from the sun fades away
Keep me warm

When night and sorrows come
I rest in the thoughts of the dawn
It keeps me and holds me, helps me sleep
No matter what dreams won’t come

Even when I in despair turn away
Keep me still

Keep me when I won’t believe the truth
And blot out the sound of its voice
Keep me when quiet is too loud
And all I can hear is fear and doubt

When trials and troubles come my way
I call on a strength from inside
It keeps me and holds me, helps me stand
Though winds blow and rain tumbles down

When the warmth from the sun bringing life fades away
Keep me
Keep me
Keep me in love