MALTED MILK AND TONI GREEN: Milk And Green (Nueva Onda)

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Toni Green is an American soulstress with an impressive CV. Memphis-born, her career began working in Isaac Hayes’ review before work with people like Al Green, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay, Luther Ingram and the Doobie Brothers. After relocating to New York Toni became an in-demand session singer contributing to hits on the SOS Band, Con Funk Shun and a certain Luther Vandross.

Back in Memphis, Ms Green came to the attention of French producer Sebastian Danchin who was working at Willie Mitchell’s studio. A few years later Danchin was preparing an album on a band called Malted Milk who were fronted by a fiery blues guitarist, Arnaud Fradin. To make the album really special, the producer realised that the band needed a proper soul singer and he immediately turned to Toni Green.

The result is this 12 track long player which is probably best described as an old school amalgam of blues, soul and funk. Focus track is a cover of Ann Peeble’s ‘Slipped, Tripped And Fell In Love’ – the choice of which shows where Milk and Green are coming from. It’s tough and rough; raucous and raw and Poppa Mitchell would have been proud of it. ‘Wake Up To Your Love’ is another album highlight that has the feel of classic Memphis about it. Though this time, it’s the subtle, insinuating Memphis soul of Al Green.

Elsewhere the essential sound is much bluesier – with Fradin’s biting guitar work taking centre stage alongside Green’s tough, Tina Turner-esque vocals. .. witness their makeover of Garnett MImms’ ‘As Long As I Have You’. The album’s first single, ‘Just Call Me’ sums up the general soundscape –driving and raw and just staying on the blues side of classic rock.

‘Milk And Green’ will be released on Nueva Onda Records on October 30th.

(BB) 3/5