Kill or Be Kind
Rounder Records/Proper Records
A Heady Mix of Sleazy Soul, Heartbreaking Blues and Fizzing Rock & Roll!
I’ve never really been convinced by Samantha Fish just being pigeon-holed as a Blues Rocker, as I’ve always believed she had much more in her tool-box than that; and hot on the heels of her ‘game changing’ BELLE OF THE WEST album; I’m pretty sure I’m finally being proved correct with this fabulous release.
While there’s still a lot of ‘Classic Blues’ in Samantha’s riffs on opening track Bulletproof, it is actually a bonafide Rocker of the finest hue; and will blow the minds of fans from her earliest days. This is a love song that purrs and growls in equal measure; owing as much to Tina Turner and Sister Rosetta Sharp as it does Muddy Waters.
Leaving us gasping for breath, Ms Fish thankfully slows things with the slow and sensuous title track Kill or Be Kind which comes next; and this time male listeners will be left all hot and bothered as her sleazy guitar licks and salacious lyrics combine in a way that is still illegal in several Southern States.
It’s a given that Samantha Fish is a fine and often fascinating guitarist …… never just relying on meandering solos to catch your attention; as is proved here on She Don’t Live Around Here and Watch It Die which show beyond all comprehension what an amazing guitarist she is.
I know most of these songs are collaborations; but listen to her lyrics and stories but one of the joys about the songwriting and storytelling here is that in Samantha Fish’s hands the likes of Try Not To Fall In Love With You and even more so perhaps; the fabulous whizz-bang, rocking and rolling Love Your Lies are feminist Power Pop for the 21st Century; but it wouldn’t take much imagination for a male singer, or even Country singer (male or female?) to alter them slightly and make them into huge crossover hits; such is the skill in Ms. Fish’s writing.
That’s not to say the singer herself doesn’t deserve to have hits with either song herself; I’m just saying she’s a damn fine songwriter and song interpreter in every capacity.
If you want ‘radio friendly’ try the soulful heartbreaker Dream Girl, which is quite timeless and the quiver in the singer’s voice will really, really tug at your heartstrings.
For my Favourite Song I’m torn between the thoughtful and starkly beautiful Fair Weather and the lecherous Dirty, which finds Samantha tip-toeing into Etta James territory, but with a ouch of Dusty in the shadows too; so I’m actually choosing the latter as it has so much going for it.
In the Press Release Samantha use the word ‘vintage’ several times; and I can easily hear why; but that’s not to say anything here is old-fashioned in the way she mixes The Blues with Super-Cool Soul and some fizzing Rock & Roll too when necessary creating her very own distinctive sound, and one that that will surely make KILL OR BE KIND her best seller to date.
Released September 20th 2019