Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

CATHERINE RUSSELL

STRICTLY ROMANCIN'

2012-02-17

On this, her 4th disc, vocalist Catherine Russell weaves a spellbinding path through smoky jazz and sultry blues. With the expert phrasing and nuanced feel for lyrics that she has developed over a long career that has found her backing the likes of Steely Dan, Jackson Browne, David Bowie and others as well as a successful solo career, Russell takes on the 14 tunes included here with a passion that shines through loud and clear. Whether she is checking out a potential conquest, "Satchel Mouth Baby", falling under the spell of love, "Everything’s Been Done Before", feeling the tug of lust, "I’m In the Mood for Love" or feeling the sting of an ending relationship, "Don’t Leave Me", Russell inhabits the lyrics in a way that makes it clear that she’s lived every word that passes her lips. Blessed with a rich voice that be low and lusty one moment, "I’m in the Mood For Love", and playfully buoyant the next, "Everybody Loves My Baby", Russell is simply captivating. With a crack band that can follow every twist and turn in styles, Russell swings, "Wake up and Live" (featuring some great Les Paul style guitar) and "Whatcha Gonna Do When There Ain’t No Swing?" lays down low key ballads, "I’m In the Mood for Love", takes on gospel compliments of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, "He’s All I Need", (where she duets with her 86 year old mother, Carline Ray, a music legend in her own right) and even duels with a trombone on the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn classic, "I’m Checkin’ Out, Goom’bye". Another terrific disc from Catherine Russell. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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