By now every self-respecting soul collector should know a little something about Canadian soulstress CLAIRE DAVIS. If you don’t … “hey where you been!!!” To recap: for the last couple of years the savvy soul media and the best tastemakers have been singing the praises of the Toronto-based Claire, who, after emerging from funk band Yuka, has thrilled us with a series of proper old school singles.
First there was a 7” that paired ‘Thrive’ with ‘Playground’… delightful, retro sounds full of charm and soul. Both betrayed Ms D’s love of and respect for 60s and 70s soul. Then came a trio of singles:- the tough, tight beater ‘Long Gone’, the uplifting and optimistic single ‘Times Have Changed’ and the sweet throwback sound ‘Intuition’. We were told that those last three tunes were tasters for an imminent Claire Davis album and that LP is almost with us… it’s ‘Get It Right’ which is officially released via LRK Records on April 21st.
Because of the quality of Ms D’s previous singles, the ‘Get It Right’ collection has been eagerly awaited and sneak previews reveal that that eagerness is fully justified. Yes, for once, all that advanced hype is spot on. The 10 tracker is quality, contemporary soul from start to finish and those three acclaimed singles aren’t the only album highlights. Indeed each and every track has considerable merit and it would be churlish to cherry pick. ‘Get It Right’ is one of those rare long players that demands to be played right through from start to finish without resort to ”skip” or whatever other digital device allows you to skim.
That said, here’s a heads up on some of the cuts that have really grabbed us here at SJF. The set opens in gentle fashion with two sweet mid-tempo items – the album title track and ‘What’s Mine’. The former harks back to the magic of the Brill Building sound while the latter has a catchy riff a little reminiscent of ‘Soulful Strut’. No bad thing in my book! Jumping to the album’s ending, the collection closes with two absolute stunners. ‘Here Comes The Fall’ is a gentle, brassy, building opus while the cut, ‘Colours’, is a wonderful exercise in recreating the magic of the classic southern soul ballad. Featuring some haunting Booker T style Hammond and sweet femme harmonies, it reminds me of some of those wonderful ballads that the Emotions cut down at Stax. Yes, it is that good and a great vehicle for Claire’s true soul voice.
Adding to the album’s cohesion and soulful feel is the fact that the set has just one producer, bassist Scott McCannell who uses the same tight band and backing singers throughout – just like it was done back in the day. Also like back in the day, the bedtracks were all laid down to a 1- inch 8-track tape machine, using (mainly) Claire’s first vocal takes in the final mix.
Have you guessed yet that Claire Davis’ ‘Get It Right’ comes with a huge SJF recommendation?