Talking to Strangers

Talking to Strangers

5.0 1
by Shemekia Copeland
     
 

What happens when you put New Orleans funk and R&B roots behind a wide-open, Harlem-bred blues belter? That’s the premise on young blues-singing sensation Shemekia Copeland’s Talking to Strangers, which sets Dr. John behind the keyboards and in the producer’s chair. He also brings in members of his band -- most notably the best R&B drummer working today, Herman…  See more details below

Overview

What happens when you put New Orleans funk and R&B roots behind a wide-open, Harlem-bred blues belter? That’s the premise on young blues-singing sensation Shemekia Copeland’s Talking to Strangers, which sets Dr. John behind the keyboards and in the producer’s chair. He also brings in members of his band -- most notably the best R&B drummer working today, Herman Ernest -- to add depth and diversity to Copeland’s fired-up touring band. The Good Doctor’s touch is felt throughout the CD. It’s as if Copeland were clay for him to sculpt into each tune. “Should Have Come Home” features his swampy organ with Copeland’s bold vocals coming on as worldly as a Bourbon Street streetwalker. On “Too Much Traffic” Dr. John’s piano tinkles in all the right places, giving Copeland tongue-in-cheek-support for her story of finding evidence of cheating in her boyfriend’s house. And for the love song “The Push I Need,” Dr. John blends his vocals with Copeland’s for a duet that could have come from 1959. But it’s not all oldies-but-goodies. The Dr. John-penned slow blues “Too Close” is as fresh as the latest story of commitment phobia, and “Ka-Ching” is a modern revenge tale with a credit card for a weapon. “Walk On” has the feel of New Orleans soul queen Irma Thomas’s live sets at Jazz Fest, while “Don’t Whisper” has all the drama of an Etta James reading. Copeland is still young, just 23, and she has grown and matured since her much-acclaimed previous release, Wicked. But the best thing about Talking to Strangers is that Dr. John has showcased this young singer's many talents and moods.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Bob Gottlieb
This disc, which has Dr. John at the controls as a producer, brings together a mix that brings out the best for all those concerned and involved with this project. There is no weakness here, it is a straight-ahead use of all the strengths of Shemekia Copeland, daughter of Johnny Copeland. The songs were well selected to effectively show off all her potency as a vocalist. There are some many good writers that are also players on this disc that the tunes fit like gloves. There are strong contributions by John "Fingers" Hahn, Mac Rebennack, and Shemekia Copeland herself. The tunes, varied in style, are all based in the deep blues, and were selected for their capability to push her vocal talents to constant new personal pinnacles. She keeps it interesting by varying the pace and on "The Push I Need," she sounds right at home singing this funky tune as a duet with Dr. John. She stays with the good Dr. through the tune as if she were doing this everyday. Then she turns around and seems just as comfortable singing "Happy Valentine's Day," as a slow bluesy torch-burner, with minimal accompaniment. This disc shows us some new sides of this fine singer, while she stretches her limits and she more than holds her own while being in the company of such luminous musicians as accompany her on this disc. This disc seems a return to the blues burner she is capable of being. She does her daddy proud on this stellar disc.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/17/2002
Label:
Alligator Records
UPC:
0014551488729
catalogNumber:
514887
Rank:
139201

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Particularly love the title song, Sholanda's and Too Much Traffic.