Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

Robin McKelle

HEART OF MEMPHIS

2015-03-01

Robin McKelle is on a mission to move away from the jazzy big band grooves of her early discs and to join the ranks of Memphis soul singers like Al Green, Ann Peebles or Carla Thomas. This disc marks another solid step in that direction with her big, rich voice taking on a southern grittiness that would leave her upstate New York roots well in the past but for the urban classiness she brings to the party. Backed throughout by a solid band and punchy horn charts, McKelle powers her way through heart tugging ballads, "Forgetting You", high energy blues that would fit nicely in a Booker T and MG’s mix, "Good Time" and "Good & Plenty", straight out soul blues including "Heart of Memphis", "Like a River", "Easier That Way" and a track that recalls Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees period, "Control Yourself". While at first blush it might seem out of place on a soul disc there is also an impossibly slinky cover of the Animal’s classic, "Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood", which has some nice horn flourishes that bring it on home. "What You Want" has the call and response vocals that mark so many soul classics. Like the rest of the disc it would fit seamlessly alongside much of the output of Hi Records. There is nothing groundbreaking here and that’s the point. Put it on and hear some new old Memphis soul music. Smitty

review by Mark

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.