Thursday, December 8, 2011
Saint Jude - Diary Of A Soul Fiend
I am a man of my word. Months ago I promised you, my faithful readers, and the Ripple editors that I would select a random piece of new music and review it regardless of whether I liked it or not. I think I missed a few months but that's life. Anyway, I'm back on track with the latest edition of the grab bag special. I was thinking about what to write up when the new issue of Classic Rock magazine arrived and this CD literally fell into my lap.
Saint Jude are a soul/R&B influenced band based out of London fronted by vocalist Lynne Jackaman. Their debut album is titled Diary Of A Soul Fiend and they describe their sound as maximum rock and soul. I'm going to assume that they know that Solomon Burke is the King of Rock and Soul since they are self-proclaimed soul fiends. Saint Jude draw more from a Rolling Stones/Rod Stewart version of soul that was probably discovered through the Black Crowes rather than from Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, etc. This is definitely a rock band so I'll cut them some slack. They're not going to blow Sharon Jones off the stage, but they're also not tying to compete with today's true queen of soul.
Of the ten songs on this CD I definitely prefer the more up-tempo material like the first three songs "Soul On Fire," "Garden Of Eden" and "Little Queen." The band comprised of guitar, bass, drums and organ (no names on the cover) are tight and the tones are vintagey. Lynne's vocals are very strong. She has a great voice, never screechy like Janis Joplin or too relaxed like Dusty Springfield. She's probably a big fan of Rod Stewart, which is bad news for me since he's one of my all-time least favorite singers, but Lynne's much easier to take than Rod the Clod. Her voice reminds me a little bit of Lydia Pense, singer of the San Francisco funk rock band Cold Blood. As a matter of fact, the entire album reminds me of that band. Similar instrumentation, influences and white people playing R&B. If you've never heard Cold Blood, check out their song "Kissing My Love," one of the hardest hitting funky rock songs you'll ever hear.
The slow songs on this record are not my cup of tea at all. The only ballads I really like tend to be sung by people like James Brown, B.B. King or Bobby "Blue" Bland. "Down and Out" and "Rivers and Streams" are reminiscent of Stones songs like "Wild Horses" or "Maggie May" by Rod. If you like those types of songs you'll probably really like the rest of this album. There are also two live songs at the end of the record that are also way too Stonesy for me, but prove that the band can play well and that no-one had to fix her vocals in the studio. If stuff like the Black Crowes is up your alley, then you'll love Saint Jude. If you're an old fart like me who listens to Albert King all the time then this will probably leave you cold. But, hey, it's good to try new things every now and then.
BONUS (optional): Cold Blood "Kissing My Love"