Described in PR copy as ‘cool after dark motown’, ‘A Fool In Love’ is the debut album from singer Florence Rawlings. Florence and her writing/production team have delivered 12 tracks with a variety of moods and tempos. Some of these are original songs, while others are re-invented covers.
The sound is essentially old school Jazz/Blues, with a hint of pop and soul. The arrangements give the whole album a live/orchestral feel, and although the odd instrument, like the organ sounds on ‘Can’t Hold Your Hand’ didn’t really add anything to the mix, for the most part the musical standard is high. That said, as someone who’s listened to artists like The Commitments, Jools Holland, Joss Stone, and Beverley Knight, I don’t feel this album delivers on originality to a high degree. It would also have been nice to hear a bit more punch in the vocals on some tracks. ‘Wouldn’t Treat A Dog’ for example, would benefit from a bit more attitude/vocal depth, while I wasn’t really sensing the emotion in ‘A Dollar Of My Pain’.
However, good always follows bad, even in the music world, and ‘Fool In Love’ does have it’s charms. For me, the highlight was the final track‘Love Can Be a Battlefield’. I found myself immediately drawn into the story, and enjoyed the emotive and soulful melodies in the song. It could be a strong single release, as could ‘Jump On The Wagon’. This seemed a bit theatrical/Blues Brothers to me, and really got going when the guitars began in earnest. The Florence Rawlings version of Allen Toussaint’s ‘River Boat’ also makes for an interesting listen. The vocal performance is smooth and polished, the music very catchy, and the electric guitar solo’s excellent.
This is a C.D that delivers on old fashioned musical values, sentiment, and atmosphere, and while it may not have won me over in some ways, in others it was an enjoyable listen. I sense that this lady has a lot more in the tank she hasn’t unleashed, and it’ll be interesting to hear what she does next.
‘Fool In Love’ is available from January 2010. For more information on London’s newest Soul/Blues star visit www.florencerawlings.com