Angel Forrest – Electric Love
Ad Litteram – 2017
CD1: 7 tracks; 42 minutes
CD2: 8 tracks; 56 minutes
Angel Forrest follows up her 2016 release Angel’s 11 with this double live album recorded on home turf in Quebec. The material blends originals written by Angel and her partner Denis Coulombe with a range of covers, including a couple associated with Janis Joplin who is clearly a touchstone for Angel who has played Janis on stage and recorded an album of her material. The band is Denis Coulombe on acoustic guitar, Alec McElcheran on bass, Sly Coulombe on drums and Ricky Paquette on electric guitar; Angel handles all lead vocals with most of the band providing B/V’s where required..
CD1 opens with two originals, “All The Way” featuring Ricky’s slide work which ups the blues quotient and “Spoil Me Up” which is a slinky rocker. Like most of the songs here the live format allows plenty of space for Ricky’s guitar and Angel’s impassioned vocals. “Piece Of My Heart” follows in a country-inflected version and you can really hear how well Angel’s voice matches Janis’. “Walkin’ Blues” runs to over seven minutes and Ricky plays an extended solo which builds in intensity pretty impressively (though Angel’s histrionic vocals were not to this reviewer’s taste) and “House Of The Rising Sun” may never be the same as both Angel and Ricky go right over the top. “How Do You Do” rocks along well and the disc closes with another long track “Move On”.
CD2 opens with Denis’ acoustic guitar to the fore on “Goodbye”, one of three songs from Angel’s 11 featured here, and runs into the appropriately titled “Roll On Down”, complete with audience participation that Angel appears to have appreciated. The rocking shuffle “Hold On Tight” is a strong track and the emotionally charged “Crucify” is perfect for Angel’s voice, both tracks clocking in at under 5 minutes and all the better for that. The frantic pace of “Mother Tongue Blues” (complete with an opening section in Angel’s native French) leads into the final section of the show: a very long, slow “Turtle Blues” which warms up Angel’s growl for the second Janis number “Bobby McGee” which she dedicates to her mother, appropriate as the final number is a medley of “Mama” (which is close to “Talk To Your Daughter” and also incorporates snatches of “Hound Dog”) and Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”. At close to 15 minutes this is a rather bloated finale though Ricky certainly captures Jimmy Page’s original perfectly.
As with many live albums, there are sections here that drag and make one think that ‘you had to be there’. However, if strong female vocals and guitar playing are your thing you should find plenty to enjoy here.