20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2007
After a decade of successful contemporary Soul/RnB album's Beverley Knight gets back to the classic old school soul sound. If the likes of Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye are your 'thang' then this album is for you. Each track was recorded live, instead of layered, to keep that classic soul sound. Produced by Mark Nevers and featuring session musicians who have worked with legends like Al green and Elvis Presley. Also featuring, The Rolling Stones, Ronnie Wood (a huge fan of Ms Knight) on three tracks: 'Every Time You See Me Smile', 'Black Butta' and 'Ain't That A Lot Of Love'.
With fabulous song arrangements from the great piano groove on Ain't That A Lot Of Love to the catchy brass riffs on Queen Of Starting Over this album is guaranteed to get your toes `a' tapping.
The songs range from heart rending ballads like No Man's Land and After You thro' to get up n jump about floor fillers like Black Butta and a blistering cover of The Stones Time Is On My Side.
This is THE album to get you through the summer of 2007 with a smile on your face and a groove in your step.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2007
I'll admit, the Beverley Knight of the 90s largely passed me by. She was an R&B artist - admittedly a cut above most of her genre colleagues talent-wise - but R&B, or rather the production-line pap that calls itself R&B these days, tends to leave me cold. Old school soul, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. Since switching focus, Ms Knight has been a bit of a revelation. Her talent as a singer has never been in doubt, but now at last she is performing music that really does her justice. Gorgeous first single No Man's Land is no fluke, although neither is it indicative of the rest of this mainly upbeat, feelgood album. There is not a duff track in sight as our Bev sings her heart out on songs that have soul to spare.
The album is a nice balance of well-chosen and perfectly executed cover versions (two), original songs written by other people (three), and songs co-written by Beverley herself (all the rest), showing that she has songwriting talent to go with that fine voice. She has turned again to former collaborators, four of the songs being written with Martin Brammer (remember The Kane Gang, 80s children?), and two with former Robbie Williams puppeteer Guy Chambers. As before, the Chambers contributions are two of the rockier tracks - Black Butta and Saviour. Let's hope they don't meet with the same tiresome inverse snobbery from urban radio stations as their predecessor, the excellent Come As You Are.
There have been criticisms that the album is less than glowing with originality. It is true that After You, written by Leeson & Vale (the duo behind Charles & Eddie's Would I Lie To You, amongst others) sometimes strays a little close to Al Green's Let's Stay Together, while the start of Black Butta will conjure up nightmarish visions of Tina Turner's thighs hoving into view as their owner prepares to belt out Nutbush City Limits. What such criticisms miss however is that it's the instantly familiar feel of the songs that is one of the album's big strengths. The other, of course, is Beverley's voice. Along with the likes of the rather scarier Amy Winehouse, Beverley Knight is doing her bit to bring back old school soul to the masses. A classy album from a classy singer.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2007
To a long-time old school blues and soul freak like me, Beverley Knight has always been just a slightly superior artist of the variety usually (and to me unfathomably) referred to as 'RnB' so this attempt to produce a 'classic' soul album is a dangerous undertaking, to put it mildly, especially with the inclusion of songs associated with Irma Thomas and Aretha. So let it be said that this is a brilliant piece of work, with both the classic numbers and Beverley's own material done superbly, with her own musicians augmented by Nashville luminaries to good effect, and a bit of Ronnie Wood here and there. One of the records of the year in my humble estimation and a must-buy for soul aficionados!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2007
This is damn fine stuff! Like a number of other reviewers some of Bev's previous stuff has been a little 'soul-lite' for my tastes; that's not to say it's bad, on the contrary, just not my bag so to speak. Now this album, whoah it's fine, without the warbling histionics of some our trans atlantic cousins! Just does the business, job done. A British soul singer who should be cherished! However, to get 5 stars it would have to reach a pinnacle of her abilities AND be of it's time in dealing with social issues (in Britain) today, as some of the classic soul songs have i.e. Livin for the City, What's goin on etc.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2007
Saw Beverley on a BBC show and bought an album.Then ended up buying all her albums!Going to see her in concert in October.This particular album is brilliant.This women could sing the phone book and be brilliant!She is up there with the best in my opinion.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2007
....the album that Beverley Knight has been threatening to make for a long time - she proves here that she can hold her own with and in most cases top any classic American soul singers. I really admire BK for not going along with all the other R&B wannabees or singers in their 30's plus who feel the only way forward is middle of the road smooth bland slush. I hope this album gets some good airplay - people will see that BK is a performer to be reckoned with. A few years ago I went to a Courtney Pine concert at the RFH and Beverley guested - she blew us all away with her great voice and choice of material. This latest album is a great selection of songs - new and old - her interpretation of Time is on my Side is pure classic - Fantastic!!!!
on 13 November 2011
Following the success of her rendition of "Piece Of My Heart" which was included on her Best Of entitled "The Voice", it is no wonder that Miss Beverley Knight chose to follow this up with the release of a soul and Motown inspired album called "Music City Soul". This genre suits Beverley's vocals like a glove and she has never sounded so alive and soulful.
"Every Time You See Me Smile" is a great soulful opener and sets the tempo for the album. "Ain't That A Lot Of Love" is reminiscent of the earlier works of Ike and Tina Turner and possesses that same bluesy gospel quality. "After You" and "No Man's Land" are more similar to the Beverley we have grown to love over the years and have an obvious pop influence whilst still retaining the nostalgic feel this album has. "The Queen Of Starting Over" is a sophisticated Motown inspired track which flows so well and "Black Butta" has a very powerful energy about it and is a stomping blues influenced number. My favourite track is the edgy rock inspired "Saviour" which has superb vocals and is very infectious. "Time Is On My Side" is the first ballad of the album and is very bluesy in style as is the faster paced "Why Me, Why You, Why Now". "Tell Me I'm Wrong" sits perfectly in the blend of pop and soul that is so familiar to Beverley, but possesses that unpolished and acoustic feel the rest of the songs on this album have. "Trade It Up" is very well written and has great gospel backing vocals to accompany Beverley's powerful lead vocals. The weakest track is probably the cover of Aretha Franklin's funky track "Rock Steady" as it is good but does not stand out. There are three bonus tracks included here: "Uptight", a soulful track with a very catchy chorus, the second ballad of the album "Back To You", a successful mellow song, and the radio edit of "After You" which I prefer to the aforementioned original version as it sounds more uplifting.
Beverley Knight has once again managed to provide a very credible record and another effective shift in style which shows her versatility as an artist and most of all, as an accomplished soul singer. "Music City Soul" is just what the UK needs right now - Beverley Knight is right on top of her game.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I have been a fan of Beverley for a few years now (since growing out of my pop group stage!) and I have never been in doubt that she has one of the most amazing voices in the business. With MUSIC CITY SOUL, she has just gone and proven that she could deservedly be awarded the accolade of THE best British soul singer.
From the very first track, "Every Time You See Me Smile", you know that you are in for something special. Her voice is perfect. She has truly put her heart and soul into this album.
I have seen other reviewers slightly criticise this release because it is not comprised of just Beverley's original songs, I think this is unfair. The songs are so good, does it really matter? Especially in an age when we seem to put high regard on performers who go on a talent show, and then just release mediocre pop or covers of classics? The direction for this album purely seems to be damn good soul music, in the truest sense of the word soul. In a way, it is showcasing her as being up there with the best of the classic soul performers, such as Aretha, but bringing it into more of a contemporary feel.
This is a great album. Definitely one for when you need a pick me up. Even songs which have a slower tempo, such as "No Man's Land", make you feel better because of Beverley's faultless singing.
For any lover of soul music, this album is an absolute must.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Beverley Knight has always been well above the average, and she has 3 excellent albums to her name, which have always hinted at the real Soul voice that she has, rather than putting it out there in all its glory.
So what a pleasure it is to discover that she has approached her latest project by gathering some real musicians around her and using production which harks back to the golden age of Soul. Some of this stuff seems instantly familiar, although there are only "Rock Steady" and "Time Is On My Side" are covers of well known songs, and that is a tribute to all involved.
After a couple of hearings you'll find yourself singing along (if you're prone to that, like I am!!) and I would pick out "No Man's Land" and "After You" and "Queen of Starting Over" as my favourites. Having said that, this is an album which rewards listening to as a whole.
Beverley Knight has called this Music City Soul - it is indeed Soul, and a simply great album.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2007
There are few contemporary R&B singers who could try to make this sort of album. But not only can Beverley Knight manage it - she masters it.
Having shown herself the queen of modern R&B whose luscious vocals have bettered everyone else in her genre, she now moves into Aretha Franklin territory - back to her musical roots. This could have been fraught with danger but Beverley has the voice and the ability to interpret every song. There is no doubt that on this showing Beverley could share the stage with Aretha herself and hold her own.
It would have been easy to put out another album like Affirmation, and welcome it would have been. But Beverley instead has moved back to the great Atlantic Soul Style - and nailed it.
Buy it - you won't regret it.