From the very first piercing note of “Call My Name,” you know Morgan James is a special voice. Pitch perfect, tinged with fierce emotion, Ms. James is one of the premier voices singing today. “Call My Name” is a perfect vehicle to demonstrate just how good she is. This isn’t just another cover of a Prince song, but beautiful music-making of what could easily become part of the standard repertoire. “Call My Name” is the initial song in Ms. James’ Hunter album (nicely reviewed by Nichole Tucker here). As the video begins with images of urban America, Morgan James’ a Capella cry, “Call, call my name,” penetrates our hearts with its soulful desire. As she walks along, all else is frozen. Joined by a strong underlying back-beat, she sings out that desire: “Calling out my name/It had been so long since I heard it/And it didn’t really/sound quite the same/But it let me know my name/That never really been spoken before/Since the day you carried me/Across that bridal path door/And ever since that day/I never wanted anyone but you.”
Like her walk down the frozen urban landscape, she comes on strong and steady throughout the song. Like her voice, this is an over-powering love that touches everything around it as she interacts with those around her to change up and build up relationships. Then she hits that note, you know the one, “making love” – wow. Diva power, like a controlled explosion. By the end, as she cries out “Call my name,” one is tempted to scream out – I’m calling, I’m calling. She brings the video to a lovely crescendo as she finally is enwrapped within the arms of her lover. This video was a great way to play out the song. I love the moment when the city is released from its frozen state to find things just a little different than they were a minute ago. Love changes things. It mixes our lives up a little bit, and that’s a good thing.
Ms. James has an amazing voice, an incredible range with terrific control (listen to all of Hunter to get a sense of where this voice can go). Ms. James has spent much of her musical life on Broadway (The Addams Family, Wonderland, Godspell, and Motown The Musical); I, for one, am glad she’s branched out into the recording studio.