Memphis soul has been inspiring a lot of artists lately. Amy Winehouse and Adele adapted Memphis influences to propel their music up the charts. Southern Avenue are revitalizing the Memphis sound to make some incredible new sounds. On Memphis, Amy Black teams up with Scott Bomar of the Bo-Keys to dig deep into the spirit of the delta.
Memphis is a good record. Amy has a great voice that draws out the poignancy of her lyrics and she’s working with a crack team of players who can ride a funk groove all day and all of the night. I’m really captivated by the horn charts that drive “The Blackest Cloud”. I love the sentiment expressed in “If I Could Reach Out (and Help Somebody)”. I really do wish more people were as concerned with helping others. It would make this a better world.
If I have a problem with Memphis, it’s that is sounds a bit too faithful to the spirit of the late ’60s and early ’70s. “Without You” and “What Makes a Good Man?” make me think of a woman content to play her prescribed role in a Man’s World. Yes, there are a lot of songs about how you can’t live without your man, but I would rather see romance based on wanting to be with someone, not needing to be with someone. “Nineteen” deals with the personal costs of war. It’s certainly a timely topic these days. For some reason the song makes me think of draft cards and Vietnam rather that Afghanistan and Iraq.
Memphis is a good record. It’s very true to the spirit of Memphis soul. I just with Amy Black had done more to take the roots sounds in newer directions. If she did that though, other critics would chide her for that too. So it goes.