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This review is from: Pieces Of Me (Audio CD)
I'm probably being unfair in reviewing this during a spell when I'm also listening a lot to Maggie Bell's "Queen Of Night". But I'm bound to say that Bell's album is a benchmark for female rock vocalists. That said, Hoyle is no slouch and, like Bell, is versatile, perhaps more so. The first three tracks are quite distinct from one another in style and she handles them all well. She is chilling on the personal politics of Nina Simone's "Backlash Blues", as smooth as glass on "Paper Tulips" and a touch dirty on "Black Crow".
To me, the singer she most resembles in timbre is Julie Driscoll, whom, the sleevenotes reveal, she knew. The presence of musicians of the calibre of Chris Spedding help in no small measure, but they never take the show away from her. If there is a weakness it is that all of the songs, save for the three cover versions, appear to have been written to order for the album. Under those conditions, you don't tend to get great material. Consequently, this is a triumph for style despite the substance. The songs are pretty good but none are outstanding. The aforementioned Maggie Bell album doesn't consist of original material but with singers of that standard, it's more about interpretation. Hoyle's performance of "Backlash Blues" reveals what she can do with a fine song. "Pieces Of Me" might have been better then, but it's still a worthy example of a fine singer running through a wide range of twentieth century styles.