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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2010
A lot of the time I get stuff to review because I ask for it. Sometimes things will be passed to me by a colleague or a PR guy because they think it's my thing. And sometimes one comes at you out of the blue and makes a great impression. Saint Jude did just that.
Are they a new name to you? They were to me. Fortunately, that's because this is their debut album which I'm happy about, because it means I haven't missed them prior to this! Saint Jude are a female fronted quintet playing classic rock in a seventies style. While that sounds okay, I don't have a great deal of female acts in my collection. There's a few, but they tend to be more raunchy and raspy - the likes of Alannah Myles, Tina Turner, Lulu, etc. Fortunately, Saint Jude's vocalist, the fine looking Lynne Jackaman, has a delivery like that, along with bags of power and confidence.
Backed by a thumping rhythm section comprised of Colin Palmer Kellogg on bass and drummer Lee Cook, Jackaman's vocals are flanked by the keyboards of Joe Glossop and guitar riffing of Adam Greene. The five piece's opening track `Soul On Fire' is absolutely top drawer. It's like a modern take on great seventies rock, without ripping anybody off or sounding like an inferior version of all those great seventies bands. Jackaman's voice is excellent and combined with the great riffs and hook in the chorus, I was immediately impressed. `Garden Of Eden' and `Little Queen' are just as good, before the pace slows a bit with `Down This Road' - the first song the band wrote together.
There's more slow burners in the form of `Down And Out', `Pleased To Meet You' and `Angel' before the rocking and catchy `Southern Belles' closes the record with another excellent chorus up there with the quality of the first three tracks. That would be the only criticism I could level at this album - with such a great start with the first three and the finale of `Southern Belle', the middle of the album has a group of slower tracks, without much in the way of singalong choruses, all clumped together. They are great songs in their own right, but I'd have preferred another up-tempo one in the mix there - however, that really is me looking for something to find fault with it.
With such a high quality debut, along with the fact they have people like Ronnie Wood getting up to jam with them and Jimmy Page thinks they rock, you have the makings of something great. If seventies rock was (or is) your thing, check these guys out. They do it like they were there in the first place, but with a bright and stunning modern production. Add to the fact they aren't afraid to add some extra flourishes in the form of some well utilised horns, percussion and extra backing vocals, you have a staggeringly accomplished first album. Superb stuff.
James Gaden - Fireworks Magazine/Rocktopia
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2010
Saint Jude were first described to me by a well-respected music producer as a band who, when performing live, "break sweat from the first song - and that's not because of the stage lights". Basically, they throw literally everything they have in terms of musicality, emotion and raw energy into their music. Luckily, that same energy shines through on this recording, with little evidence of studio dilution.

Separating this band out from a crowded market is surprisingly easy - basically, they do rock and roll the only way it should be done: tight, on the edge and coming from the heart. The musicianship within the band is striking, as guitar riffs and solos take on from where the great riffs and solos of the late 60s left off. Fans of The Faces and Stones will find this a flawless extension of their playlists.

That's all good and well, but what gives the musicianship the edge is the delicacy of the keyboards, which are there throughout but come to the front with stabbing authority just when they are needed most. Led Zeppelins `Boogie with the Stu' is not a bad yardstick to translate my point over with. Splice that with the anchorage of the bass and relentless drumming and you have a unit that can support a voice.

What a voice, too.

Watching Lynne Jackaman live is a memorable experience simply for the confidence she displays in her songs. By this, I mean the innate knowledge and self belief that what she has to offer is an ability to get the message across, without crossing over, regardless of the audience's persuasion. Comparisons with the late great Janis Joplin do not come around that often, but on this occasion they are actually substantiated in full.

In terms of picks, the crashing opener "Soul on Fire" is more like an opening blow, with the power of a TKO to the dome. As the thoughtful track ordering works its way through you, you'll find the more delicate "Down and Out" getting the message home, which is that this band are one of the country's best kept musical secrets, and that's regardless of how you prefer your rock `n' soul to be served.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2011
Saint Jude? I thought the same. "Who's this? Another 2nd hand rock n roll band trying to play on the past", it's fair to say I was so far from the mark that I would need a telescope to see where they were.
Saint Jude came from a recommendation from Classic Rock magazine calling their debut album 'Diary of a soul fiend' an "Album of the year". What the hell, thought I. They apparently sounded like a cross between The Black Crowes & The Faces with Janis Joplin on vocals while they all got drunk at an impromptu gig.

Seriously....they kicked my arse!

Diary of a soul fiend is one of those albums that on first listen you get to the end of it & realise that you've just listened to it & you want more...kinda the crack of rock n roll then. The full album crackles to life at every turn giving you ups & downs and makes you remember the days when you sat around listening to albums with a tennis racket in your hand playing along with it.
Lynne Jackamans voice is like honey to my ears, that knowing mix of edge but with a massive amount of soul behind it and it weaves brilliantly with Adam Greene's pure pushed telecaster guitar. Greene has obviously studied at the temple of Ron Wood, Keith Richards & Rich Robinson, giving his open G strung tele that classic sound destined to linger long after other bands have faded from the memory. The rest of the band including Joe Glossop on keyboards, Colin Kellogg on bass & Lee Cook tickling the drums are a tight unit bring the best out of their singer & guitarist. From the kick of Soul on fire through to very rock n roll Little Queen then onto the hook of Pleased to meet you which gives you time then to get down to Southern Belles. Miss Jackamans voice hits heights I haven't heard for the longest time in songs like Angel & the sweetness that comes through on Down & out this album makes you forget all the others, especially in theses days when the bastions of old time rock like The Black Crowes are calling it a day.

Do yourself a favour, rob your granny & buy this album, you won't be disappointed!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
First heard Saint Jude, when Classic Rock put one of their songs on the free album and I liked what I was hearing. Checked them out on You Tube and like what I saw and heard. Bought the CD, put it on my MP3 and I was blown away by this new band. This has to be the best Rock/Blues band to come along in years, they are tight, excellent musicians, who play good old no nonsense rock 'n' roll that is a pleasure too listen to. Vocalist Lynne Jackaman is stunning and has previously been compared to Janis Joplin, personally, I would say a better comparison would be Maggie Bell, especially on the more soul/bluesy numbers, but on the rockier tracks Sass Jordan comes to mind. The individual songs and musicians have been covered by previous reviewers so no point in covering that again. I know we're not half way through the year yet, but this could end up being the best rock album of 2011.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2011
After hearing the first track on Planet Rock I decided to listen to the previews and was very impressed. A little different to a lot of the current seventies sounds doing the rounds; very soulful even jazzy but always keeping rock as a baseline. Superb vocals, (and yes, very Janis Joplin), I seem to be slowly building up on female fronted bands but if this is what they can produce then they put a lot of the men to shame! Absolutely no fillers and even the non-rockier members of the family may like it, (that is to no detriment). This will sit proudly next to my metal, blues, prog and other rock CDs. Roll on High Voltage!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2011
This is a truly stunning CD. The musicianship and songwriting is stunning. The whole album oozes quality and there genuinely isn't a weak track on it. For lovers of southern soul and 72 Telecasters and the fine art of "weaving."

Whilst its the opening track "Soul on Fire" which is getting the airplay (thank you Planet Rock for keeping the blues rock flag flying), the band really come into their own on the slower numbers such "Down and Out" and "Angel". Immaculately produced with some lovely touches (the trumpet coda at the end of "Down and Out" is utterly sublime).

Sure the influences are pretty near the surface but, hey, The Stones, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin et al cast long shadows. Their influences are to be celebrated but Saint Jude also bring their own undeniable passion and commitment both of which ooze through on each track. Quality will out.

Buy it - they're simply gonna be huge.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2011
I bought "Diary of a Soul Fiend" (which I have often mistakenly called "Soul on Fire") having seen them live in 2010. What impressed me on-stage was the energy that the whole band gave the performance from opening chord to final drum-beat. Seeing them again in 2011, I took an iconic photograph which says a lot about the band - a Holy Trinity of rock guitars stood on the stage - a strat, a telecaster and a Gibson Les Paul. In terms of rock hardware that is in the same league as an amp that goes to 11. Just looking at the sustain was awesome. You get my drift.

However, Saint Jude are not just a band who have understood the kit that a proper rock band should possess; they have the soul of a proper rock band: offstage, guitarist Marcus called me `Man' a few times in a relatively short period of time and I half-expected him to tell me he was the luke-warm water between the fire of Lynne Jackaman (vocalist) and the black ice of bassist Scott Wiber. Saint Jude could be clichéd, yet somehow they are not.

The single "Soul on Fire" itself has something of the narrative observation evident in the Who's "5.15" and the Boomtown Rats' "Mary of the Fourth Form" and for younger readers, Kaiser Chief's "Oh My God" - so I avoided asking Lynne the degree to which it was autobiographical, but when she sings that the fire is "something that you can't put out" to climax the song, you believe her.

"Garden of Eden" - rather better enunciated than on Iron Butterfly's "Innagadadavida" speaks lyrically of wanting to take risks - "to stand on the edge again" - and it is evident that the maturity of the vocalist who `leads the line' through the album is not denied - Lynne does not try to present herself in Britney Spears style schoolgirlesque manner, so I guess that she has given up on being asked to join ex-Hawkwind spin-offs Space Ritual, but in the words of Rod Stewart, `she wears it well' and it is part of the individuality of this band that she fronts it perfectly. The confident delivery by all band-members is not mere swagger and braggadocio, but `in the groove' rock music for entertainment. When Marcus Bonfanti swings his mane of hair out of the way of his Les Paul or kisses the sky, it may follow the tradition of the Allman Brothers or Wishbone Ash, but he appears `in the moment' and any experienced performer will recognise when a band are genuinely `in the groove' of their performance and doing it for themselves as well as the audience. That is how I see Saint Jude and that is what comes across on this album.
"Southern Belles" is another strong song which closes the album.

I have now had a year think how to describe Lynne Jackaman's delivery and the best that I can manage is that it is ballsier than Pat Benetar, more tuneful than Janis Joplin and more English than Anastacia but with something of each. Perhaps there is even a little of `broken heels' Alexandra Burke in there too. If a singer is that difficult to categorise, then it suggests that she has her own sound.

I have had this album in the play-pile for most of the last year - get it and go see them live.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2010
I bought this after reading a live review, and also the other reviews on this site. Frankly, I am amazed there has not been more of a buzz about this band because this is an outstanding debut album. There are strong elements of 70's rock in several of the tracks but the excellent production brings the sound firmly up to date.

I don't think there is a weak song on the album and, as for the voice-I can safely say that the singing is scarily good- full of raw passion and emotion. If you like this, I would recommend also checking out the latest album by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals as there are definately similarities between the 2 bands.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2010
I was lucky enough to see this band play in a club in London, and was stunned.

This band have absorbed everything that is good in music, and fire it back out with passion, soul and energy. I am simply stunned. EVERY song is brilliant

The band combine perfectly and play with amazing tone and touch. A proper tight hard working band, who play for each other, and because they love it.

Then the singer... Lynn Jackaman is probably the best singer in the world right now, seriously, I can't think of any singer in any genre of music who can touch her.

Soul on fire, listen to it, Strutting, Soaring, powerful. I love Lynn's phrasing in the chorus.

The band have a softer side and play some beautiful tender music, Rivers and Streams is a joy, every note is beautiful.

Listening to the album just makes me happy.

Thank-you St Jude
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2011
I loved this CD on first hearing it, but only now am I realsing it's one of those gems that just gets better and better the more you listen to it. The references in other reviews to classic 70's rock are accurate, but it is 70's influenced music that sounds fresh, full of life and bang up to date, delivered by very accomplished musicians and a stunningly talented vocalist. There are out and out rockers that just make you feel so damn good (Little Queen, Soul on Fire and Southern Belles stand out) and slower tracks that are hauntingly poignant(Down This Road, Rivers and Streams and Down and Out, for example) but all the songs are excellent musically and lyrically. One more thing - if you have the smallest chance of seeing this band live, crawl over hot coals to do so, they are jaw-droppingly good on stage.
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