Prom­ise ful­filled

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - EGuide Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

HOW of­ten does a se­quel sur­pass an orig­i­nal?

You could make ar­gu­ments for The God­fa­ther II or The Dark Knight but, in mu­sic, it’s not of­ten an easy com­par­i­son to make. At least not con­vinc­ingly.

British soul singer Joss Stone has gone back to where her ca­reer be­gan, re­vis­it­ing a style of al­bum that launched her ca­reer and she has trumped the orig­i­nal by some mar­gin.

In short, she is a bet­ter singer now – more con­fi­dent, more skilled; just ‘‘ more’’ in ev­ery pos­si­ble way.

What re­mains the same is her solid taste in soul­ful tunes.

On her 2003 de­but she was just a kid, but she worked a spe­cial kind of magic on clas­sic songs by Aretha Franklin, the Is­ley Broth­ers, Way­lon Jen­nings and The White Stripes.

On the new al­bum, this Grammy and Brit Award- win­ning singer mines the work of The Chi- Lites, Womack & Womack, Doris Day and The Casi­nos, but with a voice that is im­pres­sively rich and ag­ile.

In her early days she had a grav­elly- yet- lus­cious tone plus plenty of prom­ise; now that prom­ise is ful­filled.

The ma­te­rial for this new record was recorded in two ses­sions, New York and Nashville. Stone’s plan was to gather the band that would record the al­bum to­gether in a room and just jam it out – spon­tane­ity was key. If a song worked well, great; if not, it went in the bin and they moved on.

In her favour was the qual­ity of mu­si­cians that had been tagged for the al­bum in­clud­ing Ernie Is­ley on gui­tar, multi- in­stru­men­tal­ist Del­bert McClin­ton and orig­i­nal Mus­cle Shoals Swamper, Clay­ton Ivey.

The good news for peo­ple pre­pared to hand over their hard- earned cash: there are no dud songs here. How­ever, some shine slightly brighter.

Is­ley’s gui­tar solo on Sum­mer Breeze is a thing of beauty. The last al­bum had Fell In Love With A Girl, but this time the rock ad­di­tion is a com­plete re- think of Bro­ken Bell’s mi­nor hit The High Road.

Then there is Teardrops with its charm­ing vo­cal and or­gan lines – bliss­ful. I Got The . . . has a swag­ger and at­ti­tude that is funky and soul­ful and just gor­geous.

Stone is very good when the mu­sic is pump­ing and her voice is soar­ing, but her re­strained per­for­mance on the al­bum’s most quiet song Then You Can Tell Me Good­bye is a re­minder of her range.

OK, sure, The Soul Ses­sions Vol­ume 2 is karaoke, but it’s the best karaoke you will hear all week.

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