Alexander O’Neal

Hearsay 30

(Resurrection Records)

The original 1987 Minneapolis studio album helmed by Jam and Lewis sold over a million copies and the funky key cuts had club crowds dancing night after night. To this day Alexander tours on a glittering career with the Hearsay songs prominent in the act. These are timeless compositions, created to get a buzz going. This release finds O’Neal and a cracking live band recreating the sonic Manchester. We saw the artist perform most of these numbers on a fine night in Piccadilly, London a few years back. I almost danced. Only inability precluded this.

I reckon that apart from the pure groove of these songs, the subject matter here just seems to be as relevant today as it was back then. People still bitch and pose and of course the social media and endless selfies leanings – let’s not call it ‘culture’ ! – of today point to the fact that the human race is not going to change. And may get worse. Hey, do you know any fakes? or know any trolls? I dare you to challenge me on this.

Criticize 3.0 bursts into life, Hammond cruising through the thick, punchy sound. The vocals are live and forceful. Slivers of wah leap from the electric guitar. The middle eight still has an airy impact. O’Neal sounds angry, wired. Surely the best ‘Keep It Closed’ song since Bo Diddley’s Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut!

(What Can I Do ) To Make You Love Me is as tender as you recall it, lightly chattering guitar and the brass programming emphasising the changes, all over electric piano slightly across time. If anything the vocal here is better than the original. Of course, the beat is irresistible. On to Hearsay with its surefooted bass pattern and sneering guitar. It’s hard not to sing along, though the touch of Vocoder doesn’t seem to add anything.

Sunshine is beautifully delivered and still sounds as though It should open a movie. Maybe the best vocal here and that’s fitting for a well-crafted song. Has George Benson ever tackled this song? He should. It’s an O’Neal masterwork of soul. Fake wastes no time in establishing that eerie beat and the arrangement places the clavinet and wah guitar centre mix. Alexander puts this over with edge and artistry. Funk don’t come no grittier. Love the drumming on this version. I always thought there was a slice of Sly Stone in this song. And it’s still there…love the strings ascension in the background!

Crying Overtime takes its dreamy time. More fine singing and a good listen. The Lovers has a refined pulse and neat piano, real night music I would venture. O’Neal does not oversing this, he just puts the lyric over with a restrained passion. Never Knew Love Like This is a song I much enjoyed in this creation, the curling guitar lines like whisps of mist and that female reply vocal is a perfect touch. Maybe the lost gem of this collection and sounding sublime, here. Business closes with When The Party’s Over which is haunting and mellow, the vocal phrasing just invigorating and the backdrop slightly dark in hue. The singer yet again handles this just right, no shouting or melodrama…the guitar is honed and accomplished and it fades too early for me!

What does our star have to say about this project? ‘I can’t tell you how pleased I am with what we have created on Hearsay 30 and I hope so much that you, my fans, enjoy what we did too and find a new passion and love for these fantastic songs’

So enjoy this album and be aware that a brand new album Resurrected will find its way to us in 2018..bring it on, Mr O’Neal.

Pete Sargeant


(Many thanks to Rosalia and Sacha)

You can watch the official video for ‘Criticize 3.0’ in this article.

Alexander O’Neal’s new album ‘Hearsay 30’ is released on Friday 1st December 2017 on Resurrection Records.

You can purchase the album from his official website shop here:

In addition, Alexander O’Neal will be releasing a new studio album called ‘Resurrected’ in 2018 and will also embark on an eight-date ‘Resurrected’ headline UK tour in April 2018. 

Tickets are on sale now here:

The ‘Resurrected’ April 2018 UK Tour will visit the following venues:

Alexander O'Neal

Friday 6th April 2018 – Armadillo, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Saturday 7th April 2018 – Lowry, Salford, United Kingdom

Sunday 8th April 2018 – City Hall, Hull, United Kingdom

Wednesday 18th April 2018 – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, United Kingdom

Thursday 19th April 2018 – Colston Hall, Bristol, United Kingdom

Friday 20th April 2018 – Town Hall, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Tuesday 24th April 2018 –  De Montfort Hall, Leicester, United Kingdom

Wednesday 25th April 2018 –  London Palladium, London, United Kingdom