Kaz Hawkins – Memories Of | Album Review

Kaz Hawkins – Memories Of

www.kazhawkins.com

self release

10 songs time – 41:45

Northern Irish songstress Kaz Hawkins lends her big brassy voice to songs taken from her successful European touring show “Memories of Etta James” covering many of Ms. James’ most iconic songs and giving some a different treatment. She gives good energetic readings of Etta’s songs. She enlisted a very capable band that includes a horn section to punch up the energy.

Among the stand out tracks are the classic “Tell Mama”, “Blind Girl”(usually known as “I’d Rather Go Blind”) and of course “At Last”. Her vocal delivery on the ballad “Losers Weepers” makes her similarity to Etta’s voice all the more evident. She squeezes ever drop of emotion out of “Blind Girl”. Otis Redding’s “Mr. Pitiful” is rightly transformed into “Miss Pitiful” in a powerful version. Her voice approaches the sound of a horn at times on the old chestnut “St. Louis Blues”.

The horn section blasts behind her high powered vocal on “I Just Wanna Make Love To You”. The version of “Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” drifts back and forth from the sound of the original to a rhythm & blues treatment. “Tell Mama” pretty much follows Etta’s delivery. “At Last”, perhaps her signature song, closes out the CD on a high note just as it should. A two piece string section manages to attain the depth of a full string section would, probably from overdubs.

Kaz achieves a good representation of Etta James’ legacy while adding creative touches of her own. This is not to slight the talented musicians supporting her vocal efforts. Stef Paglia contributes a tasty slide guitar solo to “Spoonful” and a distortion solo to “Tell Mama”. Sam York covers the keyboard spectrum that is essential to this R&B sound. Crack rhythm, horn and string sections round out the sound. In the end a very worthy representation of the Etta James sound. Kaz Hawkins has the necessary tools for the job.

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