Just Another Girl On The IRT

Freestyle musings from a pseudo-intellectual hellcat in high heels with Huxtable aspirations in a ghetto fab world. Proudly sponsored by bouts of bitchy mood swings, one too many swigs of Turning Leaf, the letters F & U and the madness that is the Rotten Apple.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Work in progress. Neurotic. Daydream believer. Bookworm. Addicted to the arts. Stubborn. Spoiled rotten. Lefty in more ways than one. Pop culture whore. Equal opportunity hater. Kid at heart.

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Previous Posts The honor roll... Sidewalk talk... Gossip folks... Know the ledge... The writing's on the wall... Subscribe & syndicate... As the page turns... Recognize the real... Speak your piece... Credits...

Monday, June 27, 2005

It's been a long time coming...

Take equal parts Mavis Staples, Tina Turner and Betty Wright, blend till smooth and serve straight up on the rocks — no chaser. That's the introduction to this 24-year old L.A.-bred force of nature who's primed to take the music world by storm. The name: Leela James. The buzz? The new kid moving in on Neo-Soul Drive at the corner of Retro Lane. A quick glance at the petite sister with the Betty Boop speaking voice & boho blowout makes you ill-prepared for the potency of her gritty rasp. Faster than you can say Michel'le, you're knocked out by her raw talent. In other words: she's the next Big Thing. Since ingenues are being churned out like an assembly line, it's nothing out of the ordinary to be blessed with an impressive instrument, but Ms. James imbues a fiery passion that's gone AWOL in today's market. With a throaty growl that recalls the lost era of pre-Memorex, her chops make you stand up and take notice. I had the pleasure of seeing her tonight at the Tower Records' Village branch to perform cuts off her debut album, A Change Is Gonna Come. And while she earned her diva-in-training stripes by showing up an hour late, all was forgiven once Ms. James hit the stage to let loose vocals with the fury of a thunderclap. Setting it off with her first single Music and accompanied by two backup singers, percussionist and a keyboard player, James stomped and wailed her way to the core of her plaintive chorus: "where did all the soul go?/it's all about the video/we don't sing no mo'/where's the music gone?" Obviously she came armed with an antidote, because soul was in abundance as she sashayed to the hand-clapping grooves of Good Time (the roller-rink rhythms courtesy of Gwen McCrae's 1981 disco classic, Funky Sensation) then segued to the smoky blues of the self-love proclamation Mistreating Me. The store's rock/pop CD section could've doubled for Mount Bethel Baptist once the buoyant Soulfood was extended into an impromptu jam/testifying session complete with tambourines and holy ghost hollers. An unnecessary acoustic take on No Doubt's breakup anthem Don't Speak could've been left well enough alone, but she fares better and does justice to the Sam Cooke classic that boldly announces her arrival. A change has come indeed. Don't sleep.


link | Shot from the lip by TriniPrincess at 10:54 PM |


3 Comments:
Blogger Michael commented at 6/28/2005 08:54:00 AM~  

I'm listening to "When You Love Somebody" right now thinking, "I want to be able to write like Trini when I grow up." Great entry. ;)

Blogger Rell commented at 6/30/2005 06:12:00 PM~  

I love this CD -- I went out and got it last week. Was a little angry that it was $9.99 at Best Buy, but I don't mind contributing $14.99, especially for good quality music.

You've got a tight blog here

Blogger Serenity23 commented at 8/20/2005 02:49:00 PM~  

I recently got this cd as well. You did an excellent job with the review. Good writing skills.

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