There is no doubting the talent nor the soulful, husky voice of Joss Stone. The problems have been trying to carry the promise of her debut album 'Soul Sessions 1', (released when barely 16), forward and push beyond the confines of covers, however good and successful. Her career, as we know, has been turbulent on and off record. Fights with EMI, trauma of attempted kidnapping, and self-penned albums not universally critically acclaimed. For someone with her ability and gifts not to have crafted more acknowledgement must surely be frustrating. Many artists have had similar struggles. After setting up her own record label (Stone's Records), Joss has gone back to the format that produced her arguably most successful recording style.
'Soul Sessions 2' was recorded in New York and Nashville in the company of accomplished session men including guitarist Ernie Isley (from the brothers) The result is a trenchant display of funky soul with Stone displaying the flexibility, maturity and mastery of her vocal performances. They all seem to be having fun and this comes across to the listener (my ears ,anyway). On a personal level, the tracks I particularly enjoy(ed) are The Dell's 'The Love We Had (Stays on my Mind)',Eddie Floyd's 'I Don't Wanna Be With Nobody But You', the Chi Lites' 'For God's Sake' and Womack & Womacks' 'Teardrops' and 'Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye'. Joss also, perhaps surprisingly, delivers a superb revamped rendition of Broken Bells' 2010 hit 'The High Road'.
This album may be a revalidation of her talents to her public. It is, until now, a tried and tested successful format, covering others' material. Maybe an interim period as I would love her to reveal a stunning collection of her own songs in the future. Meanwhile, sit back and listen to her latest offering. I hope it's a winner for her and her fans.