Robbin Kapsalis & Vintage#18
Bird Song Records
Rhythm ‘n Blues Drenched Soul With a Firecracker Up it’s Backside!!!!
Momma Magpie used to tell me “You can’t judge a book by the cover,” but thankfully son #4; moi has no problem pre-judging an album by the cover ….. and this sizzler is pretty damn exactly what you’d hope it to be if you stumbled upon it in a record shop.
Even the bass rumble that opens first song Shake It Baby more than hints at what is to follow; and 30 seconds later when Ms Robbin Kapsalis enters the fray, sounding like the kind of woman Momma Magpie used to warn me about …… you just know that this album is going to be a surefire winner.
Shake It Baby not just sizzles but sets light to any emotional baggage you have, as Robbin gives us a Masterclass in danceable S.O.U.L from the Otis Redding and Sharron Jones playbooks.
Robbin and Vintage#18 hardly give you time to catch your breath as song after song will make your feet and hips ache to get on the dancefloor (or kitchen floor!); even the slower tunes, From The Heart of The One and the smouldering You Don’t Deserve Me aren’t the type of brokenhearted love songs to wallow in; they are there to dance your troubles away to; even though Robbin isn’t the type of woman to get on the wrong side of!
“IT’S 3 AM, AND I’M ALONE IN THIS BED
OOO LOVER, WHERE CAN YOU BE
AIN’T NOTHIN’ OPEN BUT A BOTTLE OF GIN
AND A PAIR OF LEGS THAT DON’T BELONG TO ME!”
By nature I try to avoid using a Press Releases comparisons in my reviews; but can’t disagree when they say Robbin Kapsalis’s influences are Sharon Jones, Koko Taylor, Tina Turner and if you really know what you’re talking about; Gladys Knight too and I’d throw Beth Hart into that heady mix too; especially the exceptional Bluesy reinvention of Fever; and the big n brassy Lost Souls wouldn’t be out of place on any of Beth’s most recent albums either.
From start to finish this album is funky-ass Soul with more than a hint of that rocking sass that we associate with her hometown of Chicago and the smoothness that comes from her adopted home, Atlanta; check out The Cannonball and the majestic Livin’ Large and tell me I’m wrong.
For a studio album recorded during Lockdown; at times there’s claustrophobic energy here that sounds like the studio was a pressure cooker when Boogaloo and Jukin’ were being recorded ……. sweat pouring down the walls and the like?
As the overall standard is so high, there are several songs here that could easily be someone’s Favourite Track, but for me it all boils down to just one; Silver Spoon which is more or less autobiographical for Ms Kapsalis and is as fiery as a sprite with a firecracker up it’s backside …….
“PLAYED ON THE SOUTHSIDE TIL THE STREET LIGHTS SENT ME HOME
WE DIDN’T LIVE FANCY BABY, BUT HOW WOULD I HAVE KNOWN
LIFE WASN’T EASY FOR A LITTLE GHETTO GIRL IT’S ALL I KNEW
AND THIS WAS MY WORLD I WAS BORN IN CHICAGO
NO SILVER SPOON IN MY MOUTH.”
This is the second album from Robbin Kapsalis and Vintage#18 and I can’t really begin to tell you how excited it has made me; apart from it’s been a bit like the first time I heard both Sharron Jones and Vintage Trouble; Soul is still alive and well in these capable hands.
Released October 15th 2021
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