Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Martha High & Speedometer - Soul overdue (2012)

'Legend' is a word so overused in the music business that it has lost much of its original impact. But Freestyle Records feel wholly justified in describing their latest signing, Martha High, as precisely that.
Martha High’s impeccable soul credentials are beyond question. She was a member of The Jewels, who in the mid 60s were part of The James Brown Revue, and also released two 45s produced by James Brown. Although The Jewels eventually disbanded, Martha continued to be a part of the live James Brown show for the next 30 years! She also recorded a solo album for Salsoul Records in 1979, also produced by Soul Brother Number 1, which added a touch of soulful disco to her enviable array of singing talents.

In 1995, Martha was invited to tour with ex-JB sax master Maceo Parker, joining another former James Brown band member "Sweet Charles" Sherrell in an incredible, feisty line up that is touring to this day. After featuring on Freestyle Records regulars Speedometers' 2011 album, The Shakedown, and touring with the band, leader Leigh Gracie and Martha formulated the idea for her to record an album on which she would re-interpret some classics, and give a new angle to some more contemporary funk and soul compositions.
Soul Overdue kicks off with a high octane rendition of No More Heartaches. Martha and Speedometer immediately proving to be a perfect match as the band’s super tight musicianship provides a formidable backdrop to her searing, soaring vocals. In comparison, the more subtle, tender moments on this album - in particular the heart wrenching version of Etta James' I'd Rather Go Blind, which is already a proven show stopper live, with The Voxettes adding backing vocals and Andy Fairclough's masterful organ playing, it must surely be one of the finest examples of contemporary bluesy soul around.
Throughout the entire album, the contributions from vocalists including Speedometer mainstay Ria Currie, and guests; Jo Knight, Saskia Blake (strings), Tristan Butler (vibraphone), all add authentic layers of genuine analogue sounds, and the results speak for themselves. Soul Overdue is an incredibly apt title for a project that has been over 40 years in the making, and it shows that Martha's voice remains undiminished. Her youthful vocal clarity and style quite simply
 If you require any more information about the release, the label, or would like to request digital copies of the promo or interview Martha High or Leigh Gracie of Speedometer, please do get in contact: - 020 7482 4555 (UK).

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