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All a bit predictable but with a couple of real gems...
on 8 April 2013
Madeleine appears in May at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival but I won't be going to see her, the last time I saw her there I was disappointed by her rather downbeat performance that didn't match the sounds of her first couple of excellent records. This latest release sees Larry Klein back in the producer's chair and a return to the classy covers of those early CDs, with four songs from Ray Charles' albums `Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music'. These songs really suit Madeleine's style but she doesn't bring anything new to them and I thought that `Born to loose' and `You don't know me' were a bit syrupy and smothered by the strings. I found `Bye bye love', `Bird on the wire' and `Gentle on my mind' OK but a bit dull, while Randy Newman's `Guilty' isn't a patch on Bonnie Raitt's definitive version (or Brit Christine Collister's version come to think of it.) I found all these songs a bit predictable - like Madeleine and the musicians were just going through the motions - everything is well-played and sounds good but just a bit uninspired.
For me the real successes were the old Buddy Holly rockabilly song `Changing all those changes' which Madeleine completely transforms and delivers in a relaxed but swinging way. This excellent version of the song is the first single from the album. I also loved the version of Warren Zevon's "Desperados Under the Eaves" where Madeleine's voice, the strings and the steel guitar all combine wonderfully for a muted but very moving version of this seldom-heard song.