July 15, 2010

Leela James - My Soul (2010)

STAX Records was a fantastic label. My favorite, so obviously I was excited to see its rebirth. Leela James has a powerful and soulful voice. The backup singers and musicians capture and update the STAX sound perfectly. "I Ain't New To This" kicks off My Soul with some seriously catchy and funky sass. Unfortunately, aside from the lead song, the album almost completely lacks hooks. It's all solid grooves, choir harmonies, and mood, without much that sticks. With just a couple more earworms this could have been great. I guess it truly is a throwback to when soul singles were propped up with filler album tracks. I appreciate that James wrote most of these songs in her move towards music independence, but STAX, and '60s soul in general, was singles market and depended on top-notch song-writers. I hope Leela James keeps working at it. I like her sound; it's warm, full and sexy. I just wish I could love her songs.


Nightrain said...

Isn't it rad that we hit up the Soulsville USA museum.

Maybe she can get Steve "The Colonel" Cropper to lend some of his songwriting talents on the next go around.

awmercy said...

That was a great museum. My only regret from our trip to Memphis not being able to try the famous dry rub ribs at Rendezvous because it was closed.

In related news, Cropper just released another album with Felix Cavaliere (that dude from the Young Rascals), but I haven't heard it yet.

Anonymous said...

Leela James is performing at Gramercy Theatre on 8/4. Tickets are available at http://www.livenation.com/event/000044A6E97F88F0?artistid=976352&majorcatid=10001&minorcatid=202. Hope to see you there!

sandenuts said...

I'm just glad is not a bunch of cover songs again, some good tracks though.