Having won a BBC Talent Show called "Star for a Night" as a twelve year old, Joss Stone was only sixteen when this album was released in 2003. She has since performed at the White House, for James Brown and Elton John and even - apparently - fielded calls from Tom Cruise. Even so, some interviews I have seen give the impression she isn't all that comfortable with the idea of fame yet. She does, however, have an incredible voice and puts it to much better use on this album than your average teen star.
Stone's record label had originally meant for her to record an EP, covering a number of 60s R'n'B tracks, and arranged for her to work with Betty Wright. However, Wright was so impressed with Joss' performance that the EP grew into this 10-track album. Each song is a gem, though (to the best of my knowledge) only two were released as singles. "Fell In Love With A Boy" was the song that started people talking - not being a fan of the White Stripes, who originally wrote and recorded the song, I was a little shocked to hear one of their songs sounding so good. "Super Duper Love", is a good deal more up-tempo and overt with its good old-fashioned 70s vibe. The remaining tracks, however, are every bit as good, if not better. "I've Fallen in Love With You" is notable as one of the songs with a 'happier' feel to it. The opening track, "The Chokin' Kind", is a superbly delivered slow number, while no teenager should be able to sing "Dirty Man" like this !!
Joss Stone seems to have affected people in much the same way as Norah Jones has - it seems that she's either loved or hated. Some of the criticims I've heard, however, have been ridiculous : one colleague of mine dismisses her (it appears) because she doesn't sing with a 1970s rock band and doesn't sport a moustache. (Honestly, I'm not kidding). When I first heard of her, admittedly, I was a little dubious - white English teenagers do not have a reputation for singing in the style the pundits were describing. However, once I heard her singing I was hugely impressed. With this set of songs, this voice and this delivery, I honestly can't see any flaws with this album.