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Four Women

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:34 pm
by Rob Hall
'Four Women' is the last track on Meshell N'Degiocelo's Nina Simone tribute album "pour une ame souvraine - a dedication to nina simone". In keeping with Meshell's recent album ("Weather") it's on the more accessible side of her work, with an admirably warm feel to the production. She has a bunch of guest vocalists sharing the singing duties - Toshi Reagon, Lizz Wright, Tracy Wannomae are all pretty good; Cody Chesnutt is great; Sinead O'Connor and Valerie June are less successful. Nor is Meshell's own singing a highpoint of the album.

"Sing The Delta" by Iris DeMent is a long-awaited collection of original songs. Most have a strong 'family' theme, and have been intimately recorded with a select group of sympathetic musicians. Her voice - always a divider of opinion - has aged and is less keen to my ears, but it is very much in keeping with the tone of the material. There's at least 3 excellent songs on the album, the best of which is Iris' ode to her mother, 'Before The Colors Fade'.

Bettye Lavette's "Thankful N' Thoughtful" is a disappointing retread of her last album and the one before that. It's a collection of covers, from Dylan to Neil Young via 'Dirty Old Town' and Gnarls Berkley's "Crazy". I don't begrudge the lady the right to earn a living, but I won't be returning to it in a hurry.

Amparo Sanchez' "Alma de Cantaoara" has been discussed elsewhere on this forum. I like it, but it's not as strong an album as was "Tucson Havana" - largely because this one is less of a piece. It seems to be a collection of songs recorded at different times with different groups and, as a consequence, lacks the coherence of "Tucson Havana". Having said that, it's still a pretty good album and if you're a fan I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Not exactly a woman, but Mama Rosin have a new album out too, titled "Bye bye Bayou". Ian A gave it the thumbs up in fRoots, and I find myself inclined to agree with him.

Oh yeah, there's another Taj Mahal collection from his Columbia days - "Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal". It's a CD of 'hidden treasures' and a CD of a live performance at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970. While the live performance is fine as far as it goes, the studio recordings offer nothing special to anyone who has been following Taj's career over the years. I think I read somewhere that this album is a spin-off from a reappraisal of his work while at Columbia: expect a flood of remasters with additional tracks, at a record shop (OK, maybe not) near you soon.

Re: Four Women

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:32 am
by Jamie Renton
Great round-up review Rob. Lot's to explore there.

Re: Four Women

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:21 am
by uiwangmike
"Sing The Delta" can be heard (slightly incongruously, I think) on the New Yorker site. ... delta.html

Re: Four Women

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:50 pm
by garth cartwright
I like the Mama Rosin album too - Jon Spencer has really pushed them and they rock! it's a lot of fun. I only gave Iris's new album a single spin and it sounded very MOR - that soft piano tinkling thru the tunes - should I give it another go? Never a huge fan but always respected her so was expecting more. Never a fan of Meshell so shall avoid that. Or of Amparo. And didn't really "get" Betty's last album but i understand it did very well for her. Will avoid this one but imagine her new fanbase will enjoy it.

Good round up, Rob. Wish more forumistas would post on what they are listening to-reading-watching.

Re: Four Women

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:16 pm
by DavidM
Can I put in a good word for Bettye LaVette's new record. I had a couple of listens to it online and thought it was quite alright;
I have to say that I'm not acquainted with her previous record, as Rob is, but it stikes me as a bit harsh to say that it's disappointing. Yes, it's an album of covers, but then there are some interesting choices there, and I'd rather hear them than, say, an album of jazz standards. She seems to be in pretty good voice, too, for a woman of a certain age..(he said tactlessly).

Everything is Broken (Bob Dylan);

Yesterday is Here (Tom Waits);

Re: Four Women

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:44 pm
by Rob Hall
Of course you can put in a good word David. But I stand by my assessment that it is disappointing. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I splashed out £10 on it in HMV, but I think it's more to do with her reliance on a few well-worn vocal stylings which, I'm afraid, just sound tired to my ears. Plus, I don't like the production - the sound is dull and the album is mostly one-paced. But I agree that it's an interesting choice of material.