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Blues In Britain Magazine, Issue 162, June 2015, Live album review

I'll Be Yours Tonight - Live (33WM151)

Following three excellent studio albums in successive years, a live CD representing the best of these is undoubtedly the only way in which Zoe and her band could have exceeded expectations for 2015.  This is because all twelve tracks are extended  ersions recorded at an intimate village venue in Surrey in front of their most devoted fans.  Every member of the 7-piece band was on fire that night with Zoe once again proving that there is not a better female blues and jazz singer in the UK and probably far beyond. 

The scene is set with the gut wrenching 'Your Sun Shines Rain' with its mesmeric chants, hypnotic guitar solo and powerful rhythm section.  The spontaneity, energy and throat shredding vocals make this live performance of the song even more memorable than the original.  On the up-tempo 'Let Me Sing The Blues', Zoe sings with honesty and intensity and Rob's guitar solos are compelling, tasteful and interspersed with memorable blues and rock grooves in tribute to Jimmy Page and other blues greats.  'Smile' benefits from the superb backing of trumpeter Andy Urquhart and Ian Ellis on tenor sax.  This leads triumphantly into the breathtaking 'Angel Of Mercy' with its clever tempo and mood changes as it reaches one crescendo after another.  The lyrics are pure poetry.  The up tempo blues, 'Liberated Woman' like the other ten Schwarz-Koral compositions showcases the immense talents of this song writing duo.  Drummer Paul Robinson skilfully maintains the meticulous pace and rhythm of 'I'll Do Anything'.  The finale is the captivating 'Take Me Back', yet another great story to tell and further interludes of sublime, melodic, technical virtuosity from Koral, Whittaker and harpist/backing vocalist Si Genaro.  It becomes increasingly difficult to review Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion without passion and what some might regard as hyperbole but this is an honest appraisal of where the band is. 

  • Words by: Dave Scott