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Monday, October 13, 2008


320 KBPS

By now, it's a moot point whether Cassandra Wilson is singing jazz or not. By unifying what were once considered disparate styles and song forms with her languorously rich vocals and offbeat instrumental textures, she has become the queen of her own genre. Largely recorded at a one-time train station in her native Mississippi, Belly of the Sun ranges from country-blues great Fred McDowell's gritty "You Gotta Move" (popularized by the Rolling Stones and here featuring acoustic-guitar wiz Richard Johnston) to Brazilian immortal Antonio Carlos Jobim's winsome "Waters of March" (featuring a children's choir) to a hauntingly feminized version of Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman." Revealing her command of narrative material, Wilson draws seductive meaning from Bob Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm" and the Band's "The Weight." Featuring Kevin Breit and Marvin Sewell on all manner of guitars and related string instruments, Belly of the Sun also boasts three strong Wilson originals, including "Just Another Parade," a jazzy-soulful duet with India Arie, and "Show Me a Love." As her own producer, Wilson comes up with less compelling backgrounds than Craig Street, who produced her darker-tinged breakthrough albums. Still, this is her most seamless, smoothest-flowing, and most effortlessly expansive recording. "I need to feel some rich black soil that's moist between my toes," she sings. You can feel her Southern roots in the grooves as well.
1. The Weight
2. Justice
3. Darkness On The Delta
4. Waters Of March
5. You Gotta Move
6. Only A Dream In Rio
7. Just Another Parade
8. Wichita Lineman
9. Shelter From The Storm
10. Drunk As Cooter Brown
11. Show Me A Love
12. Road So Clear
13. Hot Tamales

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