Sunday, 3 June 2018

Joanne Shaw Taylor - White Sugar (2009)

   

Released in 2009

Joanne Shaw Taylor is from Wednesbury in the West Midlands, not from the Mississippi Delta, would you believe.

TRACK LISTING

1. Going Home
2. Just Another Word
3. Bones
4. Who Do Want Me To Be?
5. Time Has Come
6. White Sugar
7. Kiss The Ground Goodbye
8. Heavy Heart
9. Watch 'Em Burn
10. Blackest Day

This, her assured debut album from 2009, is certainly an impressive offering of earthy blues rock. Compared to 2014’s comparatively “in your face” all out, bombastic blues rock guitar abd throaty voice attack, this is a slightly more subtle affair. The bass is certainly more inventive and melodious and some of Joanne’s guitar work is stunning, such as the outstanding solo on “White Sugar”, and on “Time Has Come” for that matter. Tracks like “Kiss The Ground Goodbye” and “Just Another Word” have the requisite blues power but they also have a warm, appealing melodiousness that is lost in the more edgy, more outright “rockier” material of the afore-mentioned later album. Even an all out slow burning rocker like “Watch ‘Em Burn” has a tuneful bass underpin to it. Everything is pretty much perfect on this breathtaking debut.

Pretty much every track has a killer solo from Joanne on it. The drums are clear and powerful and the bass is as I said before. The musical set up is a basic one - guitar, bass and drums - but it is perfect here. Listen to the deep, rumbling intro to “Heavy Heart” and then Joanne’s deep, rich blues voice kicks in. This is a great track. Excellent guitar and bass interplay at the end of this one. “Blackest Day”, the album’s closer, is seven minutes of slowed-down, sexy, soulful blues rock heaven. 

Wonderful.

As with most blues rock material, there is not a huge amount of variation, either musically or lyrically. You don’t suddenly get a funk number or a piano ballad or some vaudeville, (as on a Queen or Paul McCartney album). What you get is honest, straight down the middle blues rock.

B+

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