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Saturday, February 08, 2014

Natalie Williams @ Hoochie Coochie + CD Review: Natalie Williams - Where You Are

Natalie Williams (vcl); Phil Peskett (keys); Al Cherry (gtr); Robin Mullarkey (bs. gtr/uke bs); Troy Miller (dms).
(Review by Lance)
Last time I heard Ms. Williams was on a Thursday afternoon in London's Cadogan Hall where Natalie laid a couple of hours of delightful GASbook upon us.
Friday night at Hoochie Coochie is more than mere miles away from a Thursday afternoon at Cadogan! It's a different planet! Maybe somewhere around Jupiter way.
Instead of suave sophistication, we got a raunchy, no holds barred, performance that merged soul, jazz, funk and rock into a sizzling inferno of sound.
The lady has the most incredible vocal chops with a range that reaches stratospheric heights without loss of intonation or emotion.
Amazingly, many of the numbers sung at the gig were (perhaps not so amazingly) from her latest CD and several had strong family connections. The title track, for example, related to words of wisdom she got as a child from her grandmother and Immortal is adapted by the singer from a lyric written by her father, award nominated poet John Hartley Williams.
As well as her original compositions written in conjunction with (mainly) Tom Cawley and Peskett there are pieces by Paul Simon and John Lennon.
At the gig, a histrionic version of Love For Sale surely had Cole Porter turning in his grave - maybe this was indeed written by a "Coal Porter"! By contrast, on the disc but not on the night, is the most exquisite version of A Garden in the Rain you'll ever hear this side of the Savoy Hotel circa 1930. If Carroll Gibbons was turning in his grave it was in appreciation of such a perfect rendition.
The Hoochie girls danced from the start and by the finish, my inhibitions loosened by bottles of London Pride saw me too shaking an arthritic leg.
With a band like this the dead would be dancing! Troy Miller socked it to them with an impressive solo as well as gooseing the rest along. Peskett and Cherry were always on the money and there was some malarkey from Mullarkey with a bass ukulele!
If you were at the gig you'll want the CD. If you've got the CD you'll wish you were at the gig!
Lance.

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