After a five-year gap since her last studio album and a hugely successful stint on the West End Stage, Beverley Knight has created a brand new album celebrating the music, sounds and legacy of Memphis, Tennessee. Soulsville takes its name from the neighbourhood in the aforementioned city and contains a mixture of original material and noteworthy classics as well as some special guests.
Knight welcomes you to Soulsville in the ‘Middle of Love’ with a seductive soulful sound that flows through the album. A crowd-pleasing jam that will have you dancing and clapping before the bluesy tones of ‘When I See You Again’ kick into life with a slow addictive groove. This sets up the first duet ‘Private Number’ featuring Jamie Cullum on the keys and vocals that marry with Knight’s in an exquisite way. This version of William Bell and Judy Clay’s classic is marvellous, as is Knight’s collaboration with Jools Holland on Big Momma Thornton’s ‘Hound Dog’ (another inseparable link to Memphis after it became a massive hit for Elvis Presley).
Letting ‘I Won’t Be Looking Back’ sign off the album would have been more effective.
Elsewhere, single ‘I Can’t Stand the Rain’ stays true to the Memphis soul of Ann Peebles’ original while adding Knight’s modern touch which I much prefer to Tina Turner’s 1984 version. The slide of the guitar in ‘Red Flag’ is very compelling and drives the track in a very enjoyable way, while the slow jam of ‘I Won’t Be Looking Back’ would arguably be a better close for the album than the collaboration with Sam Moore of Sam & Dave. ‘Hold On I’m Coming’ is an excellent tune but I think putting it in between, say, ‘Still Here’ and ‘Sitting on the Edge’ and letting ‘I Won’t Be Looking Back’ sign off the album would have been more effective.
Soulsville is a delightful new release from Beverley Knight.
By Will Hunt
Original material and Classic covers
Warm and soulful sound
A great tribute to Memphis
Listen to ‘Middle Of Love’ below:
Watch the mini-documentary about Soulsville below:
|1. Middle of Love|
|2. When I See You Again|
|3. Private Number (feat. Jamie Cullum)|
|4. All Things Must Change|
|5. I Can’t Stand the Rain|
|6. Red Flag|
|7. Don’t Play That Song For Me|
|8. Still Here|
|9. Sitting on the Edge|
|10. Hound Dog (feat. Jools Holland)|
|11. I Won’t Be Looking Back|
|12. Hold On I’m Coming (feat. Sam Moore)|