Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Lori Dow - Love Changes - 2008

Lori's second album, for me, contains no less than EIGHT barn-storming tracks, and that's a lot more than most albums can boast about these days. This classy Lady and her fine musicians bring together a collection of enchanting songs that are jazzy, soulful and with a nod to the urban side of the street. Lori is a majestic singer with a smooth yet vigorous style and can keep up with the best of them – and the classiest with them. We have no whining R&B artist in the mould of Mary J. Blige etc. here! Lori is a woman of style, substance, elegance and sass! How about that for a set of ingredients? Besides, take a listen to the music. It speaks for itself. Just listen – you don't need the likes of me or anyone else to try and convince you this is an essential purchase! I will commence my list of faves with the superb saxy oriented jazzy soul number, “Love No Limit” which is, of course a FAR superior version than the original by Mary J. Blige. The wah-wah guitar is subtle, snuck away under a sensual bassline, vibes and flute. So classy, and proves the quality that this Lady is made of. The following song, “I Love The Way”, is a stark contrast; a modern street number featuring a rap from a man called Omega Red. Do not skip this – the beats may well be Hip Hop orientated, but the funky bassline, flute and warm fender rhodes make this a funky, buoyant, affair.

“Heaven Only Knows” returns to a more soulful format with plenty of aural texture, and is pleasing to these ears in large measure. I am particularly tuned into the wonderful “Can't Nobody” which has some nice twangy guitar and horns giving it a home-grown '70s flavour! The KILLER cut for me is the deliciously constructed “Make Time” - this gives me chills. The beats may be programmed BUT there are some dreamy, atmospheric Dexter Wansel-type keys on here which hark back to his epic “Life On Mars” set from 1976. Please check this track out – the keys are to die for, let alone the horns! These keys also return on the compelling “Until I Found You”. Its a classy, jazzy affair with shades of Will Downing and Ronnie Foster, complete with (I think!) a Steinway Grand Piano a la Bob James. DELICIOUS! The jazzy and socially mindful “Love Changes” relates to love in a universal / holistic context. I was reminded of the style adopted by Sheree Brown on her recent “'83” set on this one. My final pick is the worshipful “Dear Lord”. This is another stylish, classy composition which adds credibility to an already seriously strong album. This is, for me, one of THE albums of the moment.

Barry Towler

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