Linda Valori – Days Like This (LeArt World Music) review
The best blues album we’ve heard all year – and it comes from, of all places, Italy!
She didn’t grow up in America, and English isn’t even her first language, but man, can Linda Valori sing the blues. Her new album, Days Like This, is one of those perfect storms – where fantastic singing meets killer accompaniment. It surprised us – and it will surprise you.
Her disc opens with an excellent take on Van Morrison’s “Days Like This,” played at a faster pace than the original, she reinterprets the slow song as a horn-driven, upbeat soul number. Valori has one of those rare voices – commanding, yet never pushy. But, she can certainly bring it when she wants to. The third time she sings “she’s gone!” on “Pain” is guaranteed to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. “I Idolize You” grooves with a wah wah guitar and organ, and features a really tasty solo from Mike Wheeler.
She also shows her diversity throughout the record – her performance on “So Doggone Good” is dripping with sexuality, but then she playfully runs through a reggae-infused take of the Pretenders’ “Don’t Get Me Wrong, then gets down and gritty with “Jealous Kind.”
Another standout is her cover of Janis Joplin’s “Move Over” – here turned into a funky sax groove. Some artists would’ve shied away from such sacred territory, but Valori totally owns it – and Vincent Bucher’s harmonica solo is another of the album’s pleasant surprises.
The best track is “I Smell Trouble” (one of several cuts linked to Ike & Tina Turner). The stinging guitar, once again by Wheeler, is just jaw-dropping and Valori elevates her game and really cooks.
Recorded in Chicago and produced by Larry Skoller, the album has a warmness like so few blues records these days – it sure sounds like it was done the old-fashioned way. On Days Like These, Linda Valori breathes new life into 12 blues & r&b tunes – and ends up with a really fine record. –Tony Peters