STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 152660-22291 LABEL: Daptone DAP033 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
There are not many singers who find a recording niche with internationally distributed albums but that's what the 72 year old gospel singer from Alabama has been blessed with thanks to her deal with New York's Daptone Records who themselves have found a sales niche with a roster of singers who perform old school Southern soul, Motown-like dancers and stone-to-the-bone funk. Shelton and the three portly matrons who are her Gospel Queens sing exclusively songs of faith but thanks to Daptone's defiantly retro approach fit in well alongside other Daptone acts like Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley. As usual on the label's releases, the accompanying house band is superb with Brother Cliff Driver leading a tighter-than-tight crew of musos like former James Brown bassist Fred Thomas and Wilson Pickett's organist Jimmy Hill while the Gospel Queens never miss a beat with their sharp, call-and-response interjections sounding like the old school sounds of Dorothy Love Coates & The Gospel Harmonettes had never faded from radio earshot. Despite one reviewer suggesting that Naomi's vocal style was inspired by Mavis Staples, in fact her gnarled rasp is closer to another veteran, Albertina Walker. But no matter, Naomi's bluesy cadences work perfectly over the cooking rhythms section and fiery vocal responses. There are a few minor disappointments in the production: the Hammond on the Southern-soul styled "I Don't Know" is too low in the mix and several tracks would have been improved with a Memphis-style horn section. But when Naomi and her soul sisters contemplate Heaven on the joyful funk "Bound For The Promised Land", admit their shortcomings on the bluesy opener "Sinner" or show some country-tinged swagger on the stately "One Day", the effect is mesmerising.
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