Before I start the review proper, let me reveal my ignorance. I have only ever heard one of these songs before and that is Jackson Frank's 'Blues Run The Game' and the version I have is by that goddess of folk/rock Sandy Denny. The version here is -and forgive me Sandy Denny fans (of which I am one)- better. Against an acoustic guitar backing, Diane sings with purity and precision, her American voice more suited ('Take a boat to England, baby/ maybe to Spain') to the lyrics than an English one. It's absolute perfection.
Perhaps I should also declare that I own Diane's two solo albums and love them to bits.
But here she shows her range, losing many of her vocal quirks to display a greater scope than her albums even suggested. In some ways, this is even better. The variety of styles she reveals, without ever being anything less than distinctively Alela Diane, is astonishing -laid back, intense, almost jazzy at times, always effortless and never less than controlled, she is a revelation.
The music is as you would expect, superbly played and arranged, but it is Alela Diane's show and her she proves she could sing almost anything she wants. The last time I was so impressed by a singer was in the late 60's and that was, well, Sandy Denny.
This is a marvellous album for fans of grown up music. Do your ears and mind a favour and get it now.