1. I Fell 2. Smokin' Hot 3. Corrupted World 4. Crushing My Heart 5. I'm Just What You're Looking For 6. Next Time You See Me 7. Blues Recipe 8. Mr. Blues 9. I Know A Good Thing 10. I Believe To My Soul 11. Candy 12. Man Sized Job 13. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Intro) 14. I Just Want To Make Love To You 15. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Outro)
Marion James Northside Soul
Nashville, Tennessee’s Marion James has been dubbed the “Queen of the Blues” and sings like it. Her musical upbringing has strong ties to the church, but that is just one of her influences. They range from gospel to blues, rock to funk. On this album, each one is heard and easily recognized.
I think the most impressive aspect of this album is James’ voice, and not just for how well it works with the music. It’s how it works considering her age. She had quite a heyday in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, but took a break after that. This isn’t her first album in a long while, but still, the fact that she’s releasing more material is pretty impressive. She doesn’t belt the way younger singers do, or reach notes so high that screaming is more or less necessary. Instead of a big and bombastic tone, hers is a more reflective, wiser–with–age inflection. It’s closer to Billie Holiday than Aretha Franklin.
Northside Soul contains several of James’ original tracks as well as some covers from across her musical spectrum. “I’m Just What You’re Looking For” is a great rendition of a great jazz song, complete with horns, jazz/blues guitar, and James’ sultry yet appropriate voice. “Next Time You See Me” makes me feel like I’m in the late 1930’s in a small jazz venue, which is pretty cool.
That said some of the songs lack a bit of luster to blow the listener away. Some slower songs such as “Blues Recipe” lack something to keep things interesting, save for James’ voice. “Smokin’ Hot” just doesn’t do it for me. “I Believe To My Soul” and “Candy” also suffer from boredom. This album isn’t perfect, but it is good. A blues lover will find enough to like here, if they can get past some duller moments.
Key Tracks: I’m Just What You’re Looking For, Mr. Blues, I Just Want To Make Love To You