Picks and Pans Review: Shades of Blue
Francine Reed (Platinum)
This album will make you wonder what other treasures Lyle Lovett has secreted within the folds of his Large Band. Singing backup vocals and performing duets with the big-haired country rocker on his albums and tours since 1985, Reed is a marvel who makes the most of her turn in the limelight on this, her third indie-label solo album. With a husky, worldly and resonant voice reminiscent of '60s jazz great Nina Simone, Reed essays numbers as diverse as the two opening standards ("The Man That Got Away" and "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues") and the rockabilly rave-up that closes the album ("455 Rocket"). In between are gospel, blues and R & B tunes, all infused with her brand of earthy soul. Backed by the Jerry Lambert Trio (a group she performs with in Atlanta when she's not touring with Lovett) and a roster of R & B veterans, Reed is a powerhouse who deserves to be more widely heard.
Bottom Line: Lady sings the blues, and more
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