Passionately topical blues from NYC chanteuse whose debut’s title says it all.
She owns a triplet of rescued pit bulls, and they nicely sum up both caring and feisty sides of Sari Schorr’s performances – reflected also, if you have to stick to strictly musical aspects of it, in the singer’s choice of covers that add to the context of her originals. But then, the solemnly rising “Stop! In The Name Of Love” and the heavily pulsating “Black Betty” have another common denominator: a subtle protest which Sari’s amplified to take the message to the limit, as a true force of nature would do. Most of the pieces on Schorr’s first album, produced by the Blue Horizon honcho Mike Vernon who was smitten by the American’s fervor, deal with difficult situations – domestic violence, heroin addiction, sex work – just like the classic blues did, yet she always finds saving grace to get a person in the song out of a social rut.
That’s how the punch of opener “Ain’t Got No Money” is pulled with the help of Innes Sibun’s guitar spicing up Sari’s sultry and angry vocals on most of the cuts, as opposed to peace of mind offered in “Ordinary Life” where a piano-rippled prayer serves up a finale. Yet there’s no escaping the overwhelming, though exhilarating, cry for freedom of “Aunt Hazel” or the Walter Trout-penned and abetted “Work No More” – which unbinds the earthly ties – while Ollie Brown’s exquisitely clipped lines measure the space in “Oklahoma” to create an echoing soundscape. Affairs of the heart are handled with the same infectious intensity, so it’s impossible not to join in when the singer is engaged in “Cat And Mouse” whose funky licks flicker all around, yet if this is a self-destructive game John Baggott’s organ and the slider-oiled caress of “Demolition Man” soften the blow.
The taming of the shrew via music, then? For such a force as Sari is, there’s no better way to harness this element.