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Lucinda Sings The Blues,
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This review is from: Blessed (Audio CD)
Lucinda Williams is not the most prolific of recording artistes. In fact this is only her 12th album release since 1979. It has been suggested that this is due, in part, to her pursuit of perfection which has made her a darling of the critics but which has not brought her great commercial success.
"Blessed" is her first album since the relatively disappointing "Little Honey" released in 2008. Produced by the legendary Don Was (Stones, Dylan, Elton John, Michelle Shocked etc)this album is a tour de force and, with all songs penned by Williams, her best offering since "World Without Tears" from 2003.
There is an aching quality to Lucinda's voice which enables her to convey bittersweet emotions and passionate brooding quite unlike any comparable singer songwriter. She knows what suits her voice and she can sure write the songs.
Just listen to her laid back southern drawl caress the lyrics of the title track "Blessed" with a mesmeric chanting lilt, Hammond B3, 12 string and piano. It is a track of such powerful atmosphere and reminiscent of The Band or Jackson Browne.
Don Was's great virtue is to let Lucinda's voice carry the songs and despite a great band delivering a distinctive country blues sound it is Lucinda's show. The country rock number "Buttercup" proves that Was has got it right. So too with "Born To Be Loved" a late night number underpinned by the sensuous B3 and a lyrical guitar; with Lucinda's voice taking centre stage this is a spellbinding journey into the blues.
There is so much to commend this album: the scorching Elvis Costello guitar break on "Seeing Black"; the exquisite "Kiss Like Your Kiss" in waltz time; the beauty of the plaintive ballad "Sweet Love" with Lucinda's voice an instrument of emotional perfection.
Don Was has produced an album with subtle shades of country rock and blues. With the guitars of Greg Leisz and Val McCallum, the drums of Butch Norton and the B3 and piano of Rami Jaffee there is a powerful bluesy band that complements the aching beauty of Williams' voice without ever threatening to dominate it. Some other producers should take note, this is the way to do it.