ALBUM REVIEW: So Good, Libby Redman, Out Now from www.libbyredman.com
Our sister newspaper, the Fenland Citizen, alerted us to York-based gospel/jazz singer Libby Redman whose latest album So Good is a treat.
Having performed in Wisbech four weeks ago, So Good answered a lot of questions about why Libby fell in love with a genre of music more associated with black American singing legends like Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Diana Ross and John Legend.
Soul stirrings and a cup of coffee in the Fens
Libby’s message of hope, love and joy through being a Christian, all sang with a voice as light and as self-managed as Beverley Knight’s, is obvious throughout what is her second album in three years.
Most of them are set to a fast, flowing pace which begins with the catchy, suger-coated Made It Through, an autobiographical account of Libby’s years as a church minister’s daughter in the city famous for its cathedral, racecourse and shopping street called The Shambles.
Tracks So Good, All One Family, Did You Do, No Matter and Crazy Things all follow the galloping rhythms of bass guitar, saxophone underbelly and jazz-inspired drums.
But there is also room for the more reflective in tracks You Don’t Have To Be Alone, A Better Way and especially Please Don’t Throw It Away.
Libby’s engaging personality, perfectly displayed during After Hours Live at Octavia’s Cafe, Wisbech, on February 5, is allied to a voice that beckons you in, rather than blows you away like Freddie Mercury, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.
As Libby said herself: ““From when I was born, I was surrounded by gospel music being played inside my house.
“I was exposed to it from a young age and I knew then that I wanted to sing.
“At university, I started to realise that I had a talent for music and that I could pursue a singing career, so I started singing professionally at different venues all over the UK and Europe.
“A lot of people say that I’m quite nichey and different in my style, but I believe God can take you anywhere when you commit your life to him.”
So Good more than lives up to its name and its mission.
Review by Winston Brown