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Joss Stone - The Soul Sessions


Review: Jack Foley

LISTENING to the opening strains of Joss Stone's The Chokin' Kind, on The Soul Sessions, it's easy to imagine you're listening to a genuine American soul sister; one who harks back to the glory days of Motown and Aretha Franklin and co.

But guess again, for Joss Stone is actually a 16-year-old British sensation, who hails from the picturesque environment of Dover.

And while those white cliffs might seem like a million miles away from the Deep South sound of her vocals, Stone can mix it with the best of them, courtesy of this real eye-opener of an album.

Stone is already causing major waves in the US, where she recorded The Soul Sessions with a selection of veteran soul musicians in two days in Miami last year.

And she is set to emulate that success in her home country, thanks to a full UK release for the album in February and airplay on high-profile stations, such as Xfm, who have seized upon the debut single, Fell In Love With A Boy, which cleverly covers a White Stripes classic line, with lush production values from The Roots.

Fell In Love With a Boy is certainly one of the funkiest tracks on the long-player, during which Stone's seductive vocals are really stretched, but there are plenty of moments to savour, particularly for soul connoisseurs.

I've Fallen in Love With You, for instance, is classic soul, which really feels good to listen to, while All The King's Horses also possesses a sassiness about it, of which Aretha would have been proud.

The album's strength lies in its decision to avoid covering the really well-known soul numbers, opting instead for tunes by the likes of Laura Lee, Joe Simon and the Soul Brothers Six, and reprising them in classic style.

There is nothing too showy, no diva-like over-emphasizing, just a deep-rooted passion for the material, which makes the songs all the more heartfelt.

There are some slower tracks, such as For The Love of You (Parts one and two), which bring the album to a somewhat unspectacular close, but, in the main, this is deeply impressive stuff, which marks the arrival of a major new talent.

Track listing:
1. The Chokin' Kind
2. Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin Me?) Pt.1
3. Fell In Love With A Boy
4. Victim Of A Foolish Heart
5. Dirty Man
6. Some Kind Of Wonderful
7. I've Fallen In Love With You
8. I Had A Dream
9. All The King's Horses
10. For The Love Of You Pts.1 & 2

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