06 March 2020 (released)
23 February 2020
I must confess to being a bit of a Sari Schorr fan.
I’ve raved over her albums and reviewed her live performances a fair number of times and I did wonder why she had never put the two together in a live album. Well, now it’s here and well worth it too.
In Sari’s own words “The time had come for me to get a bit messy. Too much of my life was becoming cleaned up in the carefully curated world of social media where we re-touch our faces and bodies and carefully edit our words. Recording a live album was a blunt attempt to fend off the perfectionism of the technical world”.
Take from that what you will but I have always loved a good live album for its imperfections rather than its crystal quality, for the solo that goes away into the ether, the occasional giggle where a note is missed – in short, the live experience. This encapsulates that brilliantly
This album was recorded all over Europe last year, with Sari’s new band featuring Ash Wilson on guitar, Stevie Watts on keys, Matt Beable on bass and Roy Martin on drums, from Switzerland to Suffolk.
Frankly, the album reflects all that I’ve seen of her in places like the Borderline, New Crawdaddy, Half Moon Putney. All the passion of her vocals, the sweaty inelegance of her performance, the tight but free playing of the band and the edge-of-the-seat feeling that her performances have.
The twelve tracks here come from both her studio albums as well as a couple of covers that are well tried and much loved in performance. Her vocal is striking – numbers like ‘Damn The Reason’ see her wailing like a banshee and pushing out an incredible passion and depth. Or ‘Valentina’ where she gets downright dirty and bitchy in her tone or her version of ‘Black Betty’ – something that Leadbelly never considered but really making the story of Black Betty real and terrible.
Add to that some stunning keyboards from Stevie Watts, Ash Wilson’s guitar – wailing solos and solid backing riffs all through – and Beable & Martin driving the music and the performances take on epic proportions.
One of my favourite live tracks is her cover of Bad Company’s ‘Ready For Love’ and somehow she takes the song and turns it into a torch song, burning and pleading, sensitive and Bob Fridzema’s piano solo just going places that Bad Company never could.
From the opening moments of ‘The New Revolution’ to the last of ‘King Of Rock And Roll’ this has all the best elements of a proper live show – the feeling that you can’t relax and kick back in case you miss something and the feeling of real involvement in something organic and special.
It ain’t perfect – no real live show ever can be – but it kicks ass mightily and that is all I ask for.