Coming up in the same period as Joanne Shaw Taylor, Dani Wilde, Cassie Taylor (in fact part of the original ‘Girls With Guitars’ troupe with Wilde & Taylor), Samantha Fish seemed to have almost disappeared but this album brings her back in the spotlight in a totally different manner.
This album focuses on her voice and the music is all the better for it.
This is one of the best soul albums I’ve heard in the last couple of years. I’m talking classic soul, music with feeling and emotion and not the over-plasticized bump ‘n’ grind that seems to be the base for soul in the 21st century.
She has a terrific voice; sassy and smoky but with a ‘dirty-girl’ edge to it and she really is perfectly suited to soul and Blues.
On ‘It’s Your Voodoo Working’ she is supported by a full horn section as well as Joe Mazzola’s rhythm guitar and when she starts wailing it puts the hairs on your neck straight to attention. The title track has a jazzy feel and her voice strays into Peggy Lee territory effortlessly.
She still has a deep Blues in her as her guitar and vocal on ‘Crow Jane’ proves – heavily fuzzed slide guitar against a powerful horn blast and a real New Orleans groove to the song.
She can do the soft stuff as well, really chilling the listener with an almost Melody Gardot style vocal on ‘Either Way I Lose’.
It is like that all through the album as she switches genres and lets herself rip in so many different styles. The blurb suggests a retro view but to me she is adapting herself to some classic themes and styles.
The musicians she has around her on the album are no slouches either: Steve Nawara and Kenny Tudrick nail the back line with real subtle playing while Marc Levon & Travis Blotsky give the music real depth with their Trumpet and Sax playing. Joe Mazzola (along with Nawara & Tudrick) is a member of the Detroit Cobras and that brings a wealth of Detroit music history with it.
A stunner of an album, utterly fresh and Fish sounds as though she is in her element.