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Friday, February 5, 2010

THORNETTA DAVIS

THORNETTA DAVIS
SUNDAY MORNING MUSIC (1996)
320 KBPS

Working with her previous employers from Big Chief, specifically bassist Matt O'Brien, guitarist Phil Durr, and drummer Mike Danner, turned out to be the perfect approach for Thornetta Davis' solo debut. It's not quite Big Chief with a different lead singer, happily, with Sunday Morning Music showcasing her affinity for the blues while not losing the powerful punch of that band. Davis' singing is just wonderful — she's got a rich, warm voice that she doesn't show off with, avoiding pointless vocal high jumps and wails for confident, often soaring delivery. She can really turn it on when needed, and the results on "Helpless" and the hard-rocking "The Deal" are well worth it. There's one cover song, Stevie Wonder's "You Haven't Done Nothin'," which Davis does a great job on and then some (a duo between the two would be amazing). She splits the lyrical work with album producer Al Sutton, another Big Chief vet, both having a good ear for statements of love, heartbreak and inspiration that avoid warmed-over clichés. "Only One," a message to a departed partner, and "Sunday Morning," a reflective comparison of past beauty and hopes and present, grimmer realities delivered over a lovely acoustic guitar melody, are two standouts. Her backing bandmates, meanwhile, create excellent music for her to work with, touching on everything from full funk chops to, on the concluding "Come Go with Me," delightful retro-soul. Various guests stop by to make things almost a Detroit-area love-in, from keyboardist Chris Codish to Kid Rock, who creates the beat on the striking, passionate "Sunset," one of the album's best tracks. Black Crowes member Eddie Harsch also adds keys and clavinet at various points, easily slotting into the band's smoky sound. Through it all, Davis sounds on top of her game, and the whole album makes for a worthwhile, invigorating listen.

1. Cry
2. Helplesss
3. Try to Remember
4. Sunset
5. Only One
6. You Haven't Done Nothin'
7. Box of Memories
8. Sunday Morning
9. The Deal
10. And I Spin
11. Come Go With Me

1 comment:

paul said...

This is a wonderful album with some standout tracks. Sadly Thornetta never recorded anything this good again. I'm so impressed you dug this one out to share. Yet another reason to trust your ears to Moodswings.