There is something very likeable about Sophie. I remember reading an article in the old Melody Maker wherein for some unknown reason she had removed her clothes. This seemed a million miles from the interview with this articulate, talented and highly-intelligent singer.
I admit that I bought this for "As I lay me down to sleep" which is incredibly beautiful and very unlike the rest of her cannon, especially in the way that Sophie enters the first verse three-quarters of the way through the first organ sequence. But there are lots of other good things on this too. "Damn, I wish I was your lover" was and is a real cracker, and "California Here I come" has great chords and words, plus some excellent swoops and vocal harmonies in the verses. I gather that Sophie is also a gifted musician, and it would be good to know what she plays and when. All through the album her songwriting abilities are beyond question. One real oddity is a very unique version of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," with some incredibly skilfull and unusual harmonies, all, I think, by Miss Hawkins herself.
The USA and Canada have a knack of producing talented and original female musicians, from Joni Mitchell to Judy Henske to Paula Cole to Alanis Morissette and to Sophie herself - plus many others. I do not want to listen to this album every day, but just occasionally it is the only one that will do the job on, say, a long drive.
If I have a criticism, it's that the inherent harshness of Sophie's powerful and ranging voice can sometimes be very cutting - but all in all, this came as a very pleasant surprise and I am going to investigate further.