Sheryl Crow goes back to her musical roots. I always liked Sheryl Crow as a vocalist, and Soul is my passion so this seemed like a great idea.
Sadly there are too many duff moments for this to be an unqualified success. The production is straightforward retro R&B, and several tracks could have come from Muscle Shoals, Stax or Hi studios, and the country influence which was often present in Soul and in Crow's earlier work is there too. I don't remember too much reggae coming out of Memphis though, and "Eye to Eye" is a bit out of place as a result!!
Some tracks are corkers, "Long Road Home" where everything comes together effortlessly, the jaunty shuffle of "Say What You Want" and "Roses and Moonlight" with it's low brooding vocal all stand out for me, and "Sideways" is a great ballad, with Crow on superb vocal form. Others are more straightforward Soul workouts, and "I Want You Back" is a straight cover of the Jackson 5 original, nothing added nothing taken away, with Crow sounding uncannily like Michael Jackson, but straining on the chorus.
And unfortunately, there are too many occasions on the album that Crow's voice is strained - for instance the chorus of "Summer Day" just ruins what is otherwise a good track and she tiptoes dangerously close to the edge on "Stop", which is otherwise a superb track. And then there's "Sign Your Name" - what were they thinking. OK to invoke the spirit of Al Green and Al Jackson Jr. with that loping drumbeat, and the vocal starts out well down the register, but then that chorus, where instead of retaining that brooding feel, things descend into a worse-then-karaoke version, it really is just awful.
I guess I will listen to this and just screen out the tracks which don't work - it could have been so much better though.