When I listen to an album of re-worked songs it’s a difficult one to review, you have to consider whether or not the artist has really grasped the idea behind the original? have they made a mediocre attempt at trying to ‘own’ a great ballad? what do they bring to the table to make it enjoyable to the listener now.
Well I can honestly say that this album by Sunny Ozell is delightful. Ok,you might think the word ‘delightful’ is light and airy but then that’s just the emotions that you pick up when listening to the songs. Sunny’s voice being soft, calming, angelic but depending on the musical arrangement can chill you to the bones!
I love the fact that the songs chosen for her debut are not the most popular and over used American songbook hits. ‘Take It With Me’ brings you a collection of Blues, Gospel and Country songs that to the virgin ear sounds completely new and like they were originally meant for Sunny to sing!
‘Manhattan Island Serenade’ by Leon Russell is now a jazzy composition adding drums, muted horns and sexy sax’s. It’s energetic, evoking images of Manhattan, downtown New York, Boston even. Sunny really drew on her experience of singing in Denver Jazz clubs in her early days to turn this song around into something more groovy.
‘Family Tree’ by Julian Velard (originally titled ‘All Right For You’) albeit a few tweaks in the musical arrangement, Sunny didn’t stray far from the original – which was a great decision seen as it’s criminal this stunning track hadn’t had the coverage it well deserved. All credit to Sunny for bringing this from darkness to light and breathing such emotion into the song’s rebirth that the world can now hear its beauty.
I love ‘Move Along Train’ which takes you on a gospel journey to the deep cotton picking south while the retelling of the Mississippi flood in ‘Louisiana 1927’ always makes you shed a tear.
As if obscured by clouds the album does take on a darker tone from ‘Kill Zone’. If you’re a fan of the Shakespears Sister‘s hit ‘Stay’ then you’ll love the chilling and haunting aspect of this song as Sunny sings “…I’ll slit your hope while you are weeping and wipe the blade clean with morphine…” eek! As we move on to ‘Number One’ the lyrics become no better “…go smoke yourselves get cancer and die…” she sings. Although slightly more uplifting in composition the Karen Carpenter-esque workings of David Mead‘s song ‘Only In The Movies’ still brings on a somber mood – I was only too happy for the album tracks to revert back to a more happier blues tone in ‘No One Is To Blame’ before we canter on to Hank Williams‘ ‘I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)’ then closing with the album’s title track and another of my favorites, ‘Take It With Me’ – where once again Sunny sounds like the ever graceful Karen Carpenter.
A good debut from Mrs Patrick Stewart, though I am eager to hear her original songs – I’ve no doubt they’ll be even better.
‘Take It With Me’ is available for download now on iTunes
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