Sunday, 19 June 2016

Martha High - Singing for the Good Times

An album by James Brown's longest serving backing vocalist? Yes, please. All originals? Now you're talking. By the woman who was in The Jewels, whose single Opportunity is one of the greatest 60s girl group soul snappers? Bring it on!

Italian producer Luca Sapio has produced and arranged the album to meet at the points of southern soul and gospel just so. No doubt Luca loaded up on Dan Penn, Tony Joe White and Eddie Floyd records before making this.

This isn't a retro album, though, because it sounds so fresh. It veers into pastiche once - The Hardest Working Woman in Town's gutbucket R&B - and sometimes the lyrics creak ("I was blind and now I see" - that line again?) but Singing for the Good Times should, rightly, carry a good chunk of Charles Bradley's fans to the Martha High cause.

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