The CD could have been a sloppy mess as its selections roam freely from one genre to another. Bramlett, however, manages to skillfully tie the material together. Her soft growl of a voice being the thread that holds everything in place.
The album is the latest chapter in Bramlett’s continuing story. Her resume includes work with Eric Clapton, Leon Russell and a long list of other rock dignitaries. She was the first white member of the Ikettes, Ike and Tina Turner’s backup singers. She’s also worked with several jazz greats, including Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon and Miles Davis. Many will also recall Bramlett as one half of Delaney & Bonnie, a duo that recorded on the famed Stax label.
She is joined on the latest CD by two original members of the Ikettes, Robbie Montgomery and Jessie Lucus, who bring fun and spirit to the set. She is backed by Mr. Groove Band, her Nashville-based ensemble.
In a nod to her rock roots, Bramlett opens the album with Stephen Stills’ "Love The One You’re With," infusing the tune with a gospel flavor. Bramlett then moves on to the original "I Can Laugh About It Now," which despite some good road stories tries too hard with Bramlett throwing in some forced laughter. She, however, gets back on track with a confident, slow-burning version of Chuck Berry’s roots-rock classic "No Particular Place To Go."
Bramlett’s history is in rooted in soul music and that serves as a foundation for much of the music here. She shines on Joe Zawinul’s "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and Sam Cooke’s "A Change is Gonna Come."
Bramlett also ventures toward jazz with surprisingly strong interpretations of " I’m Confessin," "Harlem Nocturne," "The Work Song" and "That Lucky Old Sun." She shows that her power isn’t just as a soul belter. She can just as easily use her earthy voice and years of experience to strike a more reflective chord. For example, "That Lucky Old Sun" is gracefully performed with just the right amount of introspection. She slows the tune down, turning it into an intimate conversation.
Whether she is burning her way through a blues song or singing a jazz ballad, Bramlett brings a wise and comforting quality to the music. She always sounds like she knows what she’s talking about. As a result, it’s easy to listen to what she has to say.