Malaya Blue – Blue Credentials | Album Review

Malaya Blue – Blue Credentials

Blue Heart Recordings

12 tracks

British blues singer Malaya Blue is rapidly becoming noticed in the Blues World.  Her debut album, Bourbon Street, garnered four nominations for 2015 British Blues Association Awards. Her 2016 CD Heartsick came shortly thereafter and her star rose further. Her next effort was Still which was produced by three-time Grammy-winning producer Dennis Walker. Walker also collaborated on this album and unfortunately passed away three weeks after the tracks were laid down.  His work Robert Cray, BB King and other legends ensures his legacy as an outstanding producer, and his work with Malaya was also certainly noteworthy.

Appearing on this album with Malaya on this album are Brett Lucas (noteworthy guitarist from Detroit who also plays with Thornetta Davis and Jeremy Spencer of Fleetwood Mac) on guitars and percussion, Richard Cousins (founding member of Robert Cray’s band) on bass, John McCollough (Irish organ and keyboard legend who leads Sinead O’Connor’s band and has played with Van Morrison and many others) on Hammond and keys, Sam Kelly (famed UK drummer who has worked with many including Robert Plant, and Gary Moore) on drums and percussion, and Chris Rand (who performed with Stones members Charlie watts, Ronnie Woods and Mick Taylor) on saxophones. The tracks were laid down live with no overdubs or manipulation in the studio.

Malaya opens with the first of these all-original cuts, “Your Act Has Worn Thin,” a slick song with a stinging guitar solo and impassioned vocal work by Blue. “Wrong Kinda Love” follows with a funky groove, pretty Hammond work and a great delivery by Malaya. Next is “Oh, What A Fool” where Malaya gives us a sultry ballad with some great sax behind her along with some pretty piano and organ work. The cut concludes with a big finish which further showcases Blue’s talents.

“I Can’t Find No Love” is another cool blues ballad with some guitar punctuating the passionate performance nicely along with a restrained solo that adds well to the song. She follows that with “The Time We Had,” another slower number delivered with great feeling. Piano, Hammond organ and vocals build in intensity throughout the cut before Malaya takes us home with a sexy conclusion. “Curious” has a little bit of a jazzy, Latin feel to it as Malaya sings with a breathy intensity. Organ, baritone sax and some good percussion help make this special.

“I’m Having Dreams Again” is another great ballad where Malaya displays her vocal prowess. Guitar, organ and saxophone again are standouts in this performance. “Good Intentions, Bad Results” has a cool bass and guitar groove that gets the body moving to the sound. Blue gives another sultry performance as the song flows and throbs seductively. Blue sings of a relationship that had the makings of working out but failed dues to her partner’s efforts. The guitar again stings sweetly here. Then we have “Bring Me Your Sin” where the dobro sets the down-home mood for the listener and then Malaya breaks out into a driving and very cool cut with electric guitar in full support.

The tempo slows a bit for “Set Me Free,” another pretty and emotive ballad with some more strident guitar support. “Howlin’ Mercy” begins as a simple acoustic guitar and vocal duet and stays that way for about four minutes until the rest of the band appears and Malaya shift gears for a rousing final concluding minute. “Messin’ Around” is the final track, a bouncy and lively cut about just what the title states. Some final guitar soloing is featured here along with some more great piano and Hammond work.

Malaya Blue is a superb chanteuse whose vocals range from sexy and sultry to powerhouse, in your face stuff. She’s a talent vocalist and has a superb band supporting her.  This album is a fine fourth addition to her body of work and it resonates with the fine vocals and musicianship throughout. This is one helluva good album!

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