Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar – Run To Me | Album Review

Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar – Run To Me

Gypsy Soul Records – 2018

10 tracks; 35 minutes

Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar come from Toronto and represented their local blues society at the 2018 IBCs where they reached the semi-finals and got plenty of attention with their large band and soul-drenched material. Samantha leads on vocals, supported by Sherie Marshall and Mwansa Mwansa on co-vocals; Curtis Chaffey and Michael McCallum are on guitars, Steve Marriner on keys, Darcy Yates on bass and Dani Nash on drums/vocals, plus a three-man horn section of Shamus Currie (trombone), Andrew Moligun (sax) and Thomas Moffett (trumpet). The ten songs are all originals written by Samantha, with help from guitarist Curtis on five, Susie Vinnick on one and the final track is credited to no fewer than six of the band! The album was produced by Darcy with song arrangements by Samantha, Curtis and Darcy, horn arrangements by Samantha, Darcy and Shamus, so a real team effort all round.

Opening track “You’re The Love” provides the album title with its chorus of “run to me, we can do this together ‘cos you’re the love that I’m running to”. The horns are absent from this one as the twin guitars provide a chugging rhythm and the singers show how well their voices combine. “Gonna Find It” has a catchy tune, the horns and call and response vocals adding a hint of Philly soul and “Will We Ever Learn” is a classic soul tune about…lust! With lovely harmonies and horn arrangement this can only be described as a gorgeous ballad. Electric piano then leads into a spare gospel arrangement which places Samantha’s voice right in the center of the mix on “Wanna Be Your Lover”.

The next two tracks stand out as Samantha sings of “Chasing Dreams”; more gospel keyboards, a rousing chorus and horn arrangement all contribute to an excellent song. Samantha’s voice here manages to get straight into the listener’s head as she reflects on how far she has come – great stuff. Lightening the mood Samantha then sings about “Good Trouble” over a bouncing Memphis-style tune with a great sing-a-long chorus on which the co-vocalists excel. The horns lead us into another soul ballad as Samantha says that somehow she will get “Over You” before another catchy number, “This Night Is Mine”. The guitars recall Steve Cropper’s rhythm style and the overall arrangement finds you swaying and singing along with the chorus. The moody ballad “Only So Much” again shows how well the vocalists combine on a song with a serious message about a woman trapped in a bad relationship where the guy has a drink problem and the kids are left hungry. The closing track has Steve’s bubbling piano at its heart and a Delaney & Bonnie feel, Samantha again the victim of a careless man who has been out “All Night Long”, the track combining all the elements of SM&DS for a final time – soul, horns, harmonies.

Samantha has a great voice for soul material with just a hint of grit. The harmonies of the other vocalists set off her voice but also add an additional gloss to the vocals, bringing gospel and soul sensibilities to the music. Anyone who has fond memories of the halcyon days of Stax, Motown, Hi and Philly soul should enjoy this album. Pity it’s not a couple of tracks longer!

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