Joss Stone – Soul Sessions

September 3, 2008 in Uncategorized

Archive CD review from 2003

Currently slippin' and slidin out of your radio with her sly White Stripes cover 'Fell In Love With A Boy', its the end of the beginning for Joss Stone. Let's see what we have here - just sixteen, 'from that little English town of Devon' as our American friends would have it, skinny as a rake, sings like a combination of Janis and Aretha. She has range, depth and doesn't over-elaborate, like the majority of her chart contemporaries. She has taste, if this side project (recorded and released before her first album proper) is anything to go by.
Supported by an able cast of seasoned musicians from Miami's TK Records - Timmy Thomas, Betty 'Clean Up Woman' Wright, Latimore - she funks up a storm on 'Some Kind Of Wonderful' from the Soul Brothers Six, and audaciously laps up Ms. Franklin's 'All The King's Horses'. A passionate reading of Laura Lee's 'Dirty Man' is an understated gem. She opens the album with a smooth slow cover (now there's confidence for you) of Joe Simon's 'Chokin' Kind' and ends it with a dramatic reworking of the Isley Brothers' 'For The Love Of You'. She even manages to extract good soulful mileage from John Sebastian's spirit-of-the-sixties 'I Had A Dream'.. just listen to her fly. Extraordinary!
Unfortunately, you're not going to be able to avoid a degree of hype if you want this album - elbowing the customers out of the way at your local record emporium to grab a copy just for starters, having to listen to yapping know-it-alls like me who talk this record up as if it was the best thing since sliced bread.
Fortunately for us, it is. Joss Stone is the real deal: a level head, a clear strong voice, perfect timing, and working in a classic style.
Ah, just another flash-in-the-pan teenage phenomenon, I hear you say. Maybe. But, as Charlie Murray says, we Brits didn't complain too much when Steve Marriot and Stevie Winwood popped up, now did we? Joss Stone really is that good.
Rating: 10

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