16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Was Martina’s country soul...,
This review is from: Everlasting (Audio CD)
I’m not particularly a country fan but it is evident that most women country singers have really great voices and, unlike pop singers, often have long careers that allow them to develop and progress. Martina McBride is such a singer and I was drawn to this CD by its ambition – she covers songs by the very best soul singers - Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Etta James - not to mention the covers of Elvis, Van Morrison and Diana Ross etc but could she pull it off? In her favour was that Don Was was in the producer’s chair, with his experience in producing Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy-winning ‘Nick of time’, and the album was recorded in her own Blackbird Studios in Nashville, with her husband John engineering.
I regard Aretha as the greatest ever soul singer and I admit that I was skeptical of a cover of Dan Penn’s great song “Do right woman, do right man” but Martina’s version is good, a no-nonsense laid-back interpretation closer to Dan’s own version than Aretha’s. Phew! She repeats the trick with a stripped-down reading of Redding’s “I’ve been loving you too long” and also a really authentic version of Cooke’s “Bring it on home to me”, where she shares the vocals with the very soulful Gavin DeGraw. Similarly one of my old soul favourites Etta James/Sugar Pie DeSanto’s classic “In the basement” is recreated in funky fashion, with Marina dueting with Kelly Clarkson. Another Chess Records’ blues classic Little Walter’s “My babe” is also covered and is surprisingly good with a really nice swing, while Fred Neil’s beautiful folky downbeat “Little bit of rain” is a gentle contrast to the other songs.
The other, probably more well known, tracks are also delivered very successfully with Martina singing wonderfully and Was producing music that is a good blend of the originals together with more modern sounds, as in Van Morrison’s “Wild night”. I found this album very professional and very enjoyable, and it made me think about the links between country and soul and their common southern roots.