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Still waiting for the definitive Susan Tedeschi record...
on 11 December 2008
I first heard of Susan Tedeschi on US blues news groups where some people argued that a young, middle-class teenager couldn't sing the blues - I hadn't heard her so I reserved judgement. When I eventually saw her at the Bishopstock festival the omens weren't good - she was clean-cut and gawky, with teddy bear transfers on her Telecaster. However, the moment she started singing there was no doubt in my mind, she had 'it' (whatever 'it' is) with a wonderful, powerful voice and the ability to convey emotion through a deep understanding of the blues.
Unfortunately up to now I don't think that Susan has made a fully successful record that has lived up to her huge potential and for me this, her latest record, also falls short. In some circles it has been judged as a return to form and the tougher sound of her earlier albums, following her previous album of covers "Hope and desire", produced by Joe Henry.
Personally I liked the variety of "Hope and desire" and I find this record a bit too full of similar sounding uptempo blues/funk, both Susan's own songs and also Allen Toussaint's "There's a Break in the Road" (the only cover). However, there are successes - despite the clunky title "700 houses" is a fantastic song, sang with real emotion, I also really like the other slower songs "Love will" and "Revolutionize your soul". The title song features a guest appearance from Tony Joe White and hubby Derek Trucks adds his soulful slide guitar to sevral tracks.
Although Susan's voice was already fantastic when she emerged on the scene, it has matured since and is now up there with the best blues and rock singers. This record has shown her as an emerging song writer but I think she still needs really good songs to match her sensational voice and sympathetic production to enhance it. I'm still waiting for the definitive Susan Tedeschi record...