Picks and Pans Review: Octoroon

updated 09/29/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/29/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Laura Love

Blues, pop, country and western and gospel are the principal veins tapped by Seattle folkie Laura Love, 37. On this, her major-label debut, the Nebraska-born composer, vocalist and bassist wrote 10 of the 13 tracks and leads a vibrant quartet on covers of "Amazing Grace" and Kurt Cobain's "Come As You Are." Her inventiveness and wit shine when she incorporates snippets from compositions by Sly Stone ("Everyday People") and Rodgers & Hammerstein ("The Surrey With the Fringe on Top") into her own tunes ("Bad Feeling" and "I Am Wondering," respectively). But when Love ventures into complex racial territory, as on the self-revelatory title track—"You will bring a high price/And the man will treat you nice/Soft brown hair will bring you trouble/You could be his daughter's double"—her creative powers reach a crescendo. (Mercury)

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