A fine debut of unpretentious, highly personal soul.
Daryl Easlea 2010-03-16
Long before Amy Winehouse or Adele, Lynden David Hall was one of the first successful products of the BRIT School in Croydon. An example of the new breed of UK soul singers, he emerged in the mid-90s, brim-full with influences from his father’s record collection. A talented multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Hall was championed initially by Trevor Nelson, who heard his early demos, leading to his deal with EMI’s Cooltempo imprint.
Originally released in 1997, Medicine 4 My Pain was a fine debut showcase. There is very little artifice or flashiness here; this is unpretentious, highly personal soul, often reading like the listener had stumbled across letters rather than a lyric sheet. From its slinky opener, Do I Qualify?, a classic take of the underdog lover making a plea for supremacy, right through to the closing Do Angels Cry, Medicine 4 My Pain is sensual and tender, highlighting how superior a singer Hall was. Sure, he was little obsessed with Prince and Al Green at times, but then if you are going to have some reference points, you could do a lot worse. The title track meanders beautifully, full of symphonic soul stabs.
Medicine 4 My Pain seemed to languish for ages. It was only when the single Sexy Cinderella broke through in 1998 that the album got the attention it deserved, gaining a re-release. Hall won Best Newcomer at the 1998 MOBOs and he was nominated for a BRIT in 1999. Medicine 4 My Pain remains Hall’s shining moment, a sweet, sultry insight into the man once described as “the sexiest brother to ever come singing out of south London”.
Lynden David Hall seems all but forgotten after his tragically early death from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006, at the age of 31. He is yet to be anthologised, eulogised or bio-pic’ed, but all that could follow. In years to come, Hall could come to be discussed and revered: his work is ripe for rediscovery. Although there were two worthy follow ups, The Other Side and In Between Jobs, Medicine 4 My Pain is the album that future generations will check out.