Love Tattoo

Love Tattoo

by Imelda May


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Love Tattoo

Love Tattoo is the debut solo album by Irish vocalist Imelda May, formerly of the roots outfit Blue Harlem. Originally released by the indie Foottapping imprint, it was later licensed in the U.K. by Ambassador and in the United States by Verve Forecast. May has captured the attention of the United Kingdom with its release, and for good reason. It's a striking gumbo of tough boogie-woogie, streetwise razor-edged rockabilly, intimate sultry vocal jazz, and sassy jump blues. May wrote all but two of the set's 12 tracks and produced the set; she also plays the bodhran, an Irish percussion instrument from antiquity. She's surrounded herself with an ace band that includes her husband, guitarist Darrell Higham, trumpeter Dave Priseman (who also plays flügelhorn and percussion), pianist and organist Danny McCormack, bassist Al Gare, and drummer Dean Beresford. The kickoff is the stomping rockabilly of "Johnny Got a Boom Boom" (infer what you might from the title). With a slapping double bassline intro, the drum kit latches on and takes it for another eight measures before Higham's nasty guitar begins its cutting strut. But May's vocal tops it all and swaggers confidently with its expression of raw sensuality. This is a love song from the streets, but it isn't trashy. It's got its own kind of in-your-face class. Contrast this with the gorgeous bluesy ballad "Knock 123," with its slow walking piano and basslines and a halting guitar figure, and May's voice all croon and caress. The title track is a wild stomp and roll where blues, rock & roll, country, and boogie collide behind her blues shout. May is a trained vocalist to be sure, but when the material calls for it, her voice contains a certain rough grain -- earthy, raw, and full of unbridled passion. It's even evident in the country ballad "Falling in Love with You Again" (one of the tracks where her bodhran can be heard prominently). The lilt, grace, and haggard elegance of her voice reveal an entire well of feeling that seems to bubble up effortlessly yet without artifice. The entire album is deliciously and unabashedly retro, but comes off as spontaneous, fresh, and full of adventure. The uptempo tunes are simply unhinged, while the ballads are full of authentic emotion. The tunes aren't overly arranged, the production is minimal, and the instruments -- as well as her voice -- sound unembellished. Imelda May is capturing the attention of Europe for a reason; she is a rare and very exciting talent who understands the history of American roots music and knows how to use that understanding in a contemporary context without pandering. Love Tattoo is righteous. Period.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/11/2009
Label: Verve Forecast
UPC: 0602517905610
catalogNumber: 001308202
Rank: 39810

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Love Tattoo 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
MyTwoSense More than 1 year ago
I first saw Imelda May performing with Jeff Beck at the Grammys doing "How High the Moon". I was blown away and couldn't get her out of my mind until I found her on YouTube. I immediatly bought her "Love Tattoo" CD. It was my non- stop for two solid days! I hadn't enjoyed a CD so much in years! She does new original material in Rockabilly style, very nice slow ballads, and some remakes of 60's classics. Leaving me wanting more, I found she had an earlier CD called "No Turning Back" I ordered it and to my surprise, it is as good as "Love Tattoo". Give her a listen, you won't be sorry. If you look for her on YouTube, listen to Big Bad Handsome Man, Johnny got a Boom Boom, Meet You at the Moon, and Falling in Love with You Again for a good sampling. And of course check out her grammy performance with Jeff Beck, incredible!
escambiajohn More than 1 year ago
Roots rock, swing, rockabilly, and torch songs played by a smokin' hot band and sung by my favorite new make-me-write-bad-checks siren. Miss May has just the brash, bold voice for the songs on this CD, alternately playful, soulful, sinful, and sultry without affectation. Contemporaries of May include Winehouse (without the self absorption), Lilly Allen (for the playfulness), and maybe Sharon Jones (for the soul). Throw in a touch of Southern Culture on the Skids and you begin to get the idea. This is the kind of singer and band that rocks the house in what used to be a smokey bar. There's not a bad track on the album.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
seafarer More than 1 year ago
A bluesy nightclub sound
out-of-focus More than 1 year ago
Original fusion of swing and jazz! Fun music and lyrics! Terrific vocals! LOVE IT!
Marie_TN More than 1 year ago
I love this CD! I hadn't heard of Imelda before your automated suggestion brought her to my attention. After playing a sample of all the songs, I knew I had to have the CD! I am so glad I purchased it too. I love every single song! Buy it if you love something different.
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Rocko_Jerome More than 1 year ago
Nothing new, but something remarkabe. Good for driving, for parties, for driving to parties.