Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Maysa - A Woman In Love - 2010 - Shanachie

Maysa is such a dependable artist...whether she is working here in dear old Blighty with Ray Hayden or Incognito main man, Bluey. Here we are with another Stateside release for the Shanachie label. Now, before - like I usually do - you roll your eyes and mutter "...cover versions..." then think again. Well, half again at least. This album boasts a number of NEW songs and a number of interpretations. I would not call them covers - they're certainly not of the usual fare or nondescription either. Like the talent Maysa is, she reworks the well-known songs and makes them fresh, relevant and different. THAT is what makes a good cover song in my humble opinion. Also, the fact that we have plenty of new tunes AND a duet with one of my heroes, Will Downing, is another matter indeed! The recording quality and the level of production is undeniably high. I remember the days when we had a torrent of releases at this standard. Oh to turn back the hands of time. However, to the present day and the opening song, "Am I Wrong For Lovin' You?"...now this is what I call CLASS. A Bossa Nova treatment is made to this song and Maysa's sexy, smoky and smooth vocal blisters with heat on this groove...a shuffling beat, synths and warm keys crowned by some seriously soulful guitar. I'd buy the CD for this song alone!

Will Downing weighs in for the contemporary quality ballad "Love Theory". I cannot express my genuine joy and relief that this Great Man has pulled through his debilitating illness and is able not only to lead a normal fulfilling life, but is vocally and artistically unblemished. This duet stands up top all scrutiny. Top marks. The lush orchestration of "Round Midnight" isn't remiss either, and her nod to Michael Jackson with her cover of "The Lady In My Life" is simply gorgeous. I still hold dear the Lou Rawls version from his 1984 set, "Close Company", but this version really does work nicely. Talking of Lou Rawls, he did a great Bluesy cover of "Willow Weep For Me" back in 1986, and here we have another great version complete with a re-vamped and re-fashioned vocal slant. This is clever, neat and...to use the parlance of my 8 year old...cool! Moving on, "Spend Some Time" is a top-drawer beat ballad and gets the old torso wobbling about in the chair and the feet tapping! The meaty, jazzy yet urban "Honey Bee" is totally compelling. If only all of Shanachie's releases were of this freshness, caliber and flavour. IF we are to have more cover versions then PLEASE let them be different...Shanachie and Maysa do not fail on any level here and so receive a standing ovation from me.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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