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Customer Review

Beth Rowley's voice isn't as distinctive as the voices of her nearest `rivals', Amy Winehouse and Duffy, that's not necessarily a bad thing but it does mean that some of her songs, such as "So sublime" and "You never called me tonight", can seem a bit bland.

What singles her out from her contemporaries is that as well as singing pop and 'reconstituted 60s soul' she also sings `da blues'. However, she's no Susan Tedeschi and I find that her take on Blind Willie Johnson's "Nobody's fault but mine" is a bit dull. Similarly, her producer has taken Jim Crawford's "When the rains came" - which Jim recorded with just his guitar and voice - added a full band with Hammond organ, slide guitar and gospel backing singers and turned a masterpiece of understatement into overblown mediocrity. She's not exactly ruined a great song (that would be perfect for a cover by Joe Cocker) but she's missed all the subtleties of the song and its original performance. I also find the modern blues "One cloud" to be pretty average.

I think that when she leaves the blues behind she's a lot better - "Sweet hours" and "Oh my life" both work perfectly as modern pop/soul, as do the gospel-influenced "Almost persuaded" and the reggae version of Dylan's "I shall be released". The real revelation for me was her duet with Duke Special on Willie Nelson's "Angel flying too close to the ground" where her voice is thoughtful and vulnerable, and which for me was one of her best vocal performances.

It's commendable that Beth and her producers have tried to include different types of music into the mix of her debut CD but I feel that for much of the blues-based material her voice can't really carry the songs and their arrangements.
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