(4 / 5)
Over the last two decades, there has been a slew of soulful young British female blues and old school r&b singers popping up and being hailed as the next big thing.
The majority of which have been hyped to death and then sunk without trace. Some even releasing one decent album and then bupkis.
So it is refreshing to come across a voice and an artist who has not had the bells and whistles and brass band fanfares in advance, and quietly sneaks up with a debut solo album that has real clout.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you British fire cracker singer Ms. Lynne Jackaman and her super debut solo album “One Shot”. Lynne grew up in Sidcup, Kent and has now moved from North London to West Yorkshire.
She uses the songs on her new record as therapy to trawl the deeply personal story of a relationship gone wrong.
If as a singer you get the chance to record at an iconic US studio where all the greats have been before you, you better have something up your sleeve to justify that opportunity….the songs, the producer, the players but above all else, the vocal abilities.
Lynne Jackaman had her dreams come true when she got to tread hallowed ground to record at FAME Studios, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA.
Where the likes of Aretha, Etta James, Percy Sledge, Clarence Carter, Bobbie Gentry and many other icons have made classic hit records. Partly funded by a crowdfunding campaign, but almost scuppered when Pledge Music went bust.
Her assembled musicians are a real who’s who of veteran players. There’s the legendary Spooner Oldham, whose organ playing helped bring “When A Man Loves A Woman” and “Mustang Sally” to life.
Marvin and Aretha’s keyboard man Clayton Ivey, Ray Charles’ bassist Bob Wray, Bonnie Raitt’s guitarist Will McFarlane and others. Gotta say though, young drummer Justin Holder more than held his own against his celebrated veteran colleagues, across this record.
British producer Jamie Evans had worked at Muscle Shoals the year before, and suggested recording there to Lynne. He lived in Antwerp and was mainly producing local Belgian bands. but took charge of this album.
UK drummer and producer Wane Proctor mixed and mastered the tracks at a Nottinghamshire studio. John Gifford, Muscle Shoals’ veteran in-house engineer and studio manager, championed Jackaman after hearing her demos.
So did she have the chops to justify the trip, the cost and having the run of that historic studio and the skills of those amazing musicians with such a pedigree?
The 11 original tracks kick off with a beautiful bang. “Supernasty” is drenched with soul and control in that attention-grabbing vocal. The lush horns are fabulous and may put you in mind of the classic Stevie Wonder track “Sir Duke”.
Lynne Jackaman is in her element as she pushes herself on the powerful vocal that combines the soul of Beverley Knight and Joss Stone, and even further back to the r&b divas such as Bettty Wright. Great phrasing.
The darker and moodier “Nobody’s Fault (But Yours)” takes the bpm’s down a tad, and delivers a sassier vocal from Lynne. The horns give a more under-stated contribution.
Some slow bluesy guitar licks open track three, “On Your Own Now”, which gives Lynne a chance to show a far more laid back vocal style, but the soul-soaked delivery is in tact. Joss Stone territory for sure.
A raunchy 70s style rocker “I’ll Allow You”, and the horns are back. The backing vocals from The Shoals Sisters – who have backed up Etta James and Alicia Keys among many others – add much value.
It’s another strong lead vocal where Lynne lets rip and pushes her range. Her roots showing from when she fronted rock band St Jude – Ronnie Wood and Jimmy Page among their fans – Ronnie jamming with them at one gig.
Title cut “One Shot” kicks off with some haunting bass work and muted horns, Lynne conjuring up a rawer, huskier vocal on a mid-tempo track. Lovely horn arrangement.
“Red House”, not the Hendrix song, again sits on a solid bass line, and the track put me in mind of short-lived 1970s Scottish band Cado Belle. Their singer Maggie Reilly was so damn good.
“Beautiful Loss” chills things down with acoustic guitar and electric piano on a sweet ballad. Written about Lynne’s former Saint Jude band mate Adam Green, who died from cancer in 2012.
Gospel piano licks and those gorgeous horns start off “Sooner Or Later”, where the BVs again sprinkle some gold dust. The song really takes off later in the track, with Lynne and the backing singers in unison, the horns and the band blasting along to a crescendo.
Back to the raunchier rock vibe for “Nothing But My Records On”, before the penultimate “Copycat”, a mid-tempo cut which begins with electric guitar and brash horns, the fat snare and solid bass line driving the track along.
Proceedings close with two minutes and 49 seconds of the stripped down, piano-centric ballad “On My Own Stage”. Lynne in fine voice as she controls the power and shows light and shade.
Nowhere to hide as her only company is Clatyon Ivey’s lovely piano accompaniment. A standout of the set and one of the strongest songs, writing-wise.
This soul sista can saaanngg! Got a feeling this is not her last shot by any means.
By Simon Redley
(1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’