Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar Run to Me Gypsy Soul www.SamanthaMartin.ca
Some of the faces, voices, and instruments have changed since Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar’s debut album of three (really? three!) years ago, but the sound and outlook continues to rain joy and sorrow in equal measure: soulful, animated, and vigorous.
Samantha Martin’s slightly gravelly voice brings each of the ten included songs to life; she isn’t messing around here: nothing is wasted, no going through the motions. When she demands, “Tell me where you been,” in “All Night Long,” you know she already has the philanderer nailed.
Without doubt, Martin is the focus here, but Delta Sugar gets co-billing for a reason. Vocalists Sherie Marshall and Mwansa Mwansa provide Martin with support and depth that is more than impressive, while the nine-piece band create a substantial sound that is bright and resonant, simultaneously fresh and retro. This is a soul revue with few peers.
At their peak, Gladys Knight or Marilyn McCoo couldn’t sing these bittersweet anthems any better. “Will We Ever Learn,” indeed: “They say, ‘Love is blind;’ I tend to think it’s when lust is on your mind…” This honest distillation of what happens when one goes looking for love in the wrong places—”one of us had to get burned”—simmers over a bed of horns including Andrew Moljgun’s saxophone. “Over You” has a similar 70s sound, mature and bad ass, accepting no sass.
Lyrically, Martin and her various co-writers keep things rather ‘matter of fact.’ “You don’t have to put a ring on it—Baby, just put your back into it,” she sings on “Wanna Be Your Lover” before continuing, “Don’t worry about my heartstrings, You know I don’t feel those feelings—I just want to see what tomorrow brings.” Still, Martin has a sensitive side. “Gonna Find It” and “You’re The Love” find her seeking that which is missing. Echoes of Stax and long-forgotten southern soul sides abound.
With Suzie Vinnick as her writing partner, Martin goes looking for “Good Trouble,” perhaps the album’s most rock ‘n’ roll track. The sing-a-long chorus, “You’re never too young, you’re never too old, to find yourself good trouble; you must find a way, to get in the way, and find yourself good trouble,” is immediately appealing, and Steve Marriner’s organ break raise the stakes a bit higher. Equally engaging, “This Night Is Mine”—one of several songs co-written with guitarist Curtis Chaffey—is loaded with vocal and instrumental hooks, another complete band performance.
Run To Me is an incredible album. Expertly produced by bassist Darcy Yates, and with a running time is 35 minutes, Run To Me is a concise serving of electrifying soul, blues, and roots music.
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