Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Just a Little Lovin'

Shelby Lynne is a soul survivor…an extremely talented singer and songwriter who won a “Best New Artist” Grammy years after she had started putting out records…a restless, creative spirit with a beautiful, sultry voice…and so the idea of her making a disc of covers of songs made famous by the amazing Dusty Springfield seems like a no-brainer. And, even more importantly, it made for one damn fine CD.

Springfield approached these songs like the big R&B/pop diva (that word used in the most affectionate and admiring way) she is…she inhabited songs with soul, passion, and verve. Lynne has those same qualities but she approaches the songs with a cooler, supper club vibe…subtle playing and, especially, nuanced singing…that breathes interesting, jazzy new life into some very familiar tunes (including sweet and smoky readings of “The Look of Love”, “I Only Want to Be with You” [see below], and “How Can I Be Sure”.)

The title track sets the mood with an evocative stroll and that is immediately followed by a beautifully yearning take on “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and a powerfully understated version of the often bombastic “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” that seals the deal on this collection’s greatness. Lynne’s wistful, self-penned “Pretend” fits like a glove with the 9 covers here.

The music…a quartet of keyboards, guitar, bass, and drums on most cuts…is masterfully played but it’s Lynne’s rich, compelling voice that effortlessly…and rightfully…holds the center and righteously carries the day on all 10 tracks here; she once again proves that great singers and great songs are in no need of vocal gymnastics to make them soar and shine soulfully.

This is music for slow dancing…or snuggling…with someone you have a serious thing for…unabashedly passionate and romantic music that isn’t the slightest bit cloying…great music, a tribute from one great artist to another, that is achingly heartfelt and wonderfully entertaining from the first track to the last.

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