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Album Review, R&R magazine, July/August Issue 81, 4/5*s

… And this album, Zoe and the band’s sixth studio set, is indeed aptly-named as UK singer Zoe Schwarz tackles a wide variety of styles and adapts perfectly to them all. With guitarist Rob Koral and keyboards player Pete Whittaker the main instrumental voices here, plus Paul Robinson on drums and horns by Ian Ellis (sax) and Patrick Hayes (trombone), the sound is rooted in the blues and rock of the late 60s and early 70s, though without any sense of a retro approach. Zoe’s voice can be a little coy in places on the opening ‘Life Goes On’, tough and declamatory as on ‘Amazon Woman’, assured and rock-y on ‘Better Days’, determined and focussed on the Latin-flavoured blues of ‘If I Could Only Be With You’, and wistful when tackling ‘Hello My Old Friend’ (with just the slightest hint of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman No Cry’). Elsewhere there are elements of pop and soul, and the blues per se comes courtesy of ‘Give Me The Key To Your Heart’, an excellent straight shuffle with tinges of jazz, the slower, forceful, ‘When The Blues Come A Knocking’ and the direct, subtle groove of ‘Come And Lay With Me’. There is also a rather impressive Billie Holiday-styled uncredited bonus track, so do let this fine album run on.

 

  • Words by: Norman Darwen

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