CD REVIEW: ZOE SCHWARZ BLUE COMMOTION – This Is The Life I Choose

CD REVIEW: ZOE SCHWARZ BLUE COMMOTION – This Is The Life I Choose
33 Records
March 2017
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
7 ½ /10

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion have delivered an accomplished fourth studio album of polished, mellow blues, with a few feisty and eclectic edges.

A captivating vocalist out front of a watertight musical trio – guitarist and co-songwriter Rob Koral, drummer Paul Robinson (a forty-year veteran who even played on Trevor Horn [as The Buggles]’s Video Killed The Radio Star in 1979) and Hammond organ grinder Pete Whittaker – Schwarz seasons her songs with some tasty spice: a pulsating, bouncy funk on Hold On; a rootsy hoe-down stomp on People, not to mention a great Hammond break from Whittaker; some hep-cat jazzy touches on I Wanna Get Something Started With You; the tribal rhythms of broke-on-tour tale No Money In My Pocket; and a wistful dreaminess (a la Hendrix’s Angel) to Call Of The Night.

Koral’s lyrics are upbeat and passionate, and delivered with utter conviction by Schwarz. This Is The Life I Choose documents why they do what they do over six-and-a-half minutes, burning slowly to a really good outro guitar solo; while that Hammond organ continues to lift the mood throughout every track.

Two bonus tracks – both covers – cap off the record: Jack Bruce’s We’re Going Wrong is a swirling miasma of restrained psych blues; and Anthony Newly & Leslie Bricusse’s Feeling Good – popularised by the great Nina Simone (indeed, Robinson toured with Simone for twenty years – he also played on Trevor Horn [as The Buggles]’s Video Killed The Radio Star back in 1979, but we digress…) is a fantastic version of a classic song, the whole band playing as one and leaving the listener breathless.

CD REVIEW: ZOE SCHWARZ BLUE COMMOTION – This Is The Life I Choose

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