Truth-be-told I've had an on and off relationship with Joss Stone. There was no doubting the raw talent captured in her 2003 debut 'The Soul Sessions'. A young but extraordinary voice bound for some kind of glory. Her grasp of the genre was remarkably sure given her tender years but the recordings between her first outing and 'The Soul Sessions Vol. 2' certainly had their share of ups and downs. The thin line between pastiche and the real deal sometimes made it hard to believe that her early fervor could be sustained. With 2011's 'LP1' however, Ms Stone, at least to my hairy ears, really hit her stride. It was a truly captivating album, chock full of spontaneity, raw energy and some very fine singing indeed. Its release was a pivotal moment in my own belief in her true potential. My reservations evaporated entirely.
The new album gives me no reason to revise this view. This collection of fifteen soul and R&B covers is, in many ways, her finest work to date. Her immediately recognisable instrument is beautifully unforced; her phrasing and fluid decoration of the melodic lines impeccably realised and the affection for her material palpable. It's a well chosen and classy set.
Highlights would have to include her cracking interpretation of Eddie Floyd's 'I Don't Wanna Be With Nobody but You' with its warm brass arrangement and stunningly articulated and believable emotion; her slinky rendition of Linda Lewis's 'Sideway Shuffle'; a rip-roaring version of Barbara Acklin's 'Stoned Out Of My Mind' and her truly delightful take on Womack and Womack's 'Teardrops', full of light and shade and heartfelt pathos. A real winner!
Producer Steve Greenberg does a sterling job behind the console and clearly understood what was needed to draw the best out of Ms Stone's remarkable gift.
There is no doubting the talent nor the soulful, husky voice of Joss Stone. The problems have been trying to carry the promise of her debut album 'Soul Sessions 1', (released when barely 16), forward and push beyond the confines of covers, however good and successful. Her career, as we know, has been turbulent on and off record. Fights with EMI, trauma of attempted kidnapping, and self-penned albums not universally critically acclaimed. For someone with her ability and gifts not to have crafted more acknowledgement must surely be frustrating. Many artists have had similar struggles. After setting up her own record label (Stone's Records), Joss has gone back to the format that produced her arguably most successful recording style.
'Soul Sessions 2' was recorded in New York and Nashville in the company of accomplished session men including guitarist Ernie Isley (from the brothers) The result is a trenchant display of funky soul with Stone displaying the flexibility, maturity and mastery of her vocal performances. They all seem to be having fun and this comes across to the listener (my ears ,anyway). On a personal level, the tracks I particularly enjoy(ed) are The Dell's 'The Love We Had (Stays on my Mind)',Eddie Floyd's 'I Don't Wanna Be With Nobody But You', the Chi Lites' 'For God's Sake' and Womack & Womacks' 'Teardrops' and 'Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye'. Joss also, perhaps surprisingly, delivers a superb revamped rendition of Broken Bells' 2010 hit 'The High Road'.
This album may be a revalidation of her talents to her public. It is, until now, a tried and tested successful format, covering others' material. Maybe an interim period as I would love her to reveal a stunning collection of her own songs in the future. Meanwhile, sit back and listen to her latest offering. I hope it's a winner for her and her fans.
A least a decade after Soul Sessions 1,here is the follow up. I's a very accomplished affair,and Joss Stone's voice is maturing nicely.She has the power of a traditional soul singer,and is most effective when you hear her almost letting go,as on For Gods Sake,etc.Standout tracks for me include,The Love We Had,For Gods Sake,Then You Can Tell Me Goddbye,Nothing Takes The Place Of You,I Got The Blues,and a smooth,silky Pillow Talk.
Criminal that she doesn't get the praise she deserves in Britain,but a follow up to be proud of. I would have preferred a more stripped back approach on some of the tracks also,but a great album that I'm still playing weeks after buying it from Amazon.
The first album that introduced me to Joss Stone's soulful music was her debut, "The Soul Sessions". Even though that album was consisted of her covering other artists, I thought it was really refreshing for today's music standards.
The successor to that album, "The Soul Sessions vol 2" is just a wonderful collection to have among Joss' albums she made over the years, evolving as a musician and as a lyricist. I can not have more praise for it.
My favourite track has to be "The High Road". Joss covered a powerful indie rock song, and turned it into something completely new, adding her signature style and interpretation.
The overall style of this album is a fine mix between classic soul, funk and blues, and it fits Joss perfectly.
I rate this album 5 stars, and even if you have never heard anything from Joss before, make sure to give this one a try because it will leave you speechless!
I love Joss Stone, I love her voice and the direction she is going.......but........these songs do not need any other versions. I only want to listen to the faultless original classics as they cannot be bettered in my opinion and it is those versions that I will go back to again and again. Having said that, because she is so talented she has produced really good renditions of all the songs here and the album is still essential listening for her stunning goose bump inducing voice alone.
Joss needs to find some decent songwriters or have a go herself and deliver a classic album of new contemporary soul and R n' B (the odd one or two covers would be OK).
I think Joss is THE best female vocalist that this country has produced in a generation. Once again (as with many extremely talented artists) far too classy for the mainstream UK public taste. Completely under appreciated here and having to strut her soulful stuff in the US to develop that amazing talent.
I'm blown away by the voice which has never sounded better, but a touch disappointed with the material on offer - I know and love the original versions too much!
Returning to the formula that launched Stone's singing career aged 16, this is a summer picnic spread with food from a more seasoned soul and a tasty treat from the seasoning of its predominantly soul roots. And its reassuring to say that the preceding line is more full of flash than Stone's honest and honestly very good interpretation and delivery throughout. It seems to me that there is a mature voice excelling here and never needing to indulge in vocal pyrotechnics, just empathy supported by both class production and excellent accompanying artists. Early reviews have seemed to be most positive and it would be refreshing to see Stone's clear talent recognised and encouraged through this wholly entertaining set. An early favourite from these Stone covers is the Cecil and Linda Womack song 'Teardrops', but that is also because it is such a beautifully written song.