Kaleidescope by Vernon Neilly – Reviewed by Chris Mann



Multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Vernon Neilly began his professional career at the age of fourteen, playing local nightclubs and dances in Honolulu, Hawaii.  

He went on to tour and record with notable R&B artists, including Johnny Guitar Watson, Carla Thomas and Billy Paul. Under the direction of legendary Motown producer, Norman Whitfield, Vernon was able to learn and perfect his production skills.  During his seven-year spell as the President of Chereese Records, Vernon learned every aspect of the record business and his first solo release comes from his own record company Boosweet Records.

So, when Vernon picks up the guitar, what happens? 

Things start off funky with On The Wind.  It’s a strange mixture with some really old-fashioned brass lines on the chorus over a very chunky synth bass line.  The tenor sax solos have a very distinctive sound. 

There’s a more mellow sax from Howard Alston on the laid back I Feel Love which, to my ears, is a smooth jazz radio hit.  The backing vocals need a little more emphasis, but the sax on this one is the star.  Nice. 

The vocal on the ballad Baby Come Back is engineered in such a strange way that it ‘s difficult to appreciate Chester Davis’ voice.  The mix is muddy – more clarity and some live drums would make this a strong track. 

If you liked “Europa” by Santana, chances are you’ll like Para Carlos.  Live, and with the intensity stepped up a couple of notches, this could burn.  That guitar and sax could have gone for it more! 

Memory Of You (vocal) is boy band stuff.  Not sure what I can add to that. 

Vernon switches to acoustic guitar for Midnight Passion and he has a great sound.  I was waiting for the guitar to cut through.  The synth bass and drum sound is solid.  Ditch the backing vocal, use a warmer synth sound and push the guitar forward in the mix. 

Memory Of You (instrumental) is another take on the ballad theme, with a wistful tenor sax.  It’s film music – heavily romantic – happy-ever-after type music.  As the guitar comes in, they start picking up the popcorn. 

When Beginning of the End launched “Funky Nassau” on an unsuspecting public in the early ‘70’s somehow they captured that Bahamas sunshine more believably than Nassau Party.  This is a pop song – pure and simple. 

If you like your electric blues, sit down, pour a good measure of Jack Daniels and tap your feet to Your The One.  Another big hitter live – sneaky brass, that clean bass guitar and the distortion wound up just enough.  Vocal is incidental. 

The heavy Galactica has shades of Parliament and made me instantly think of “Space Cadets” by Harvey Mason.  If this had Bootsy on bass, I’d probably be laughing my head off by now!!  Funky, and weirdly catchy! 

That George Clinton-style, spaced-out funk jam continues into Khalif’s Space Slam but there was a touch of magic missing from this particular clone of Dr Funkenstein… 

… and the rap on Khalif’s Space Slam (rap version) was not it! 

The CD is called “Kaleidescope” for a reason – Neilly goes for contrasts on it and there are high spots.  He is a talented guitar and bass man – and funky.  I love funk like I love breathing, so leave the ballads to George Benson and - hit me!! 


Boosweet Records 0001 – Executive Producer Vernon E. Neilly

Available from www.boosweet.com