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Introducting a new reviewer for Bluesdoodles – Gary…..

album-hrJoanne Shaw Taylor
Songs from the Road
Ruf Records

This lady hails from the UK, the Midlands to be more precise and she was motivated to play the blues by pinning her ears back to blues icons such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Johnson etc. She still lives in the UK but has a home in Detroit and has rightly become a worldwide respected name on the Blues scene.
Joanne Shaw Taylor has previously released three well received studio albums (White Sugar, Almost Always Never and Diamonds in the Dirt) lo and behold here comes a ‘live’ album. It’s released on the Ruf Records label, recorded at The Borderline, London in an attempt to keep the ‘live club vibe’ and being at one with the audience.
At times her voice is reminiscent of Janis Joplin but she also has her own vocal expression with the musical drive being evident throughout. Her guitar prowess is first class, great licks, straight in your face, no overdubs, simply ‘WISYWIG’ (what you see is what you get) and by the way her band is top rate, providing a solid base to work with.
Ok, here is the problem, soundwise it’s not the best live recording I have heard – it occasionally has a ‘thick’ sound, levels seem distorted which detracts and masks the vocals, lyrics can be quite difficult to understand at times. There again, how many gigs have been spoilt by an inferior sound and yet what a memorable night? To me, it does not work on this recording.
There are 12 tracks on the album, some new numbers and a few from her previous albums. One highlight is the inclusion of ‘Manic Depression’, a pretty faithful rendition of the Hendrix classic. I also took to ‘Tied and Bound’, with a hint of Bonamassa included, a real plodding rocker. ‘Soul Station’ is a cracking set opener, setting the way for a night of raw rock and blues.
The old studio tracks are unleashed with a new lease of life, sometimes good to revisit and rework your output…sometime it works and other times, well maybe not. In this case the old numbers are ‘alive and certainly kicking’.
She was voted “Best British Female Vocalist” at the British Blues Awards in 2010 and 2011 and as Blues Matters magazine once wrote ‘the new face of the blues’., Some say that Joanne Shaw Taylor could be the best female electric guitar playing blues singer at the moment, but there is obvious opposition from Samantha Fish, Ana Popivic etc… watch this space.
OK, the album sound mix is questionable but the talent on show is obvious. I wonder what this home-grown lady’s next album will hold… methinks it will be a studio offering.

The added extra is a DVD so you can watch the magic of Joanne playing the guitar with her infectious smile.

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Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of five doodle paws a doodle rating of

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