I confess to a bit of a bias on this one. I've had the pleasure of interviewing Di Anne Price, and found her to be one of the warmest and wisest women I've ever encountered. But I'm happy to say that much of her warmth and wisdom comes across in the music, making this, Di Anne's fourth full-length release, a delight from beginning to end.
Di Anne's been quoted more than once as saying "It's all about the music." Well, yes. But when one's dealing with standards, as much of this disc's playlist consists of, a measure of the singer's personality is an essential ingredient in the interpretation. Otherwise why do 'em at all when there are literally hundreds of versions available?
And that's what makes this disc so special. Apart from superbly sympathetic accompaniment from her 'Boyfriends' - sax man extraordinaire Jim Spake is perhaps best known, but drummer Tom Lonardo and bassist Tim Godwin are both every bit his equal - it's Di Anne's graciously humble yet saucily sassy personality that shines through loud and clear.
Di Anne Price is a survivor, an unquenchable optimist who simply refuses to let the blues darken her soul. That's not to say there's any lack of depth or conviction when she does tackle a blues song; she clearly loves the form and digs into it with relish. (Truth be told there's a bluesy feel to almost every song she sings). But there's an inherent dignity in her approach, a resolute strength that leaves no doubt the blues will never, ever win the battle for Di Anne's heart.
"Reekin' With Love contains a generous 17 tracks (two listed as bonuses) that range from "Key To The Highway" (usually treated as a tale of reluctance and regret, here we find Di Anne looking forward, eager for new adventure) to the veiled threat of "You Better Help Your New Woman," which sees Di Anne taking matters into her own hands, fully prepared to fight for what's hers.
She loves songs with a double-entendre (she calls 'em 'cutie pies' - "you know, a little bit naughty but still nice"), so we get the raucously ribald "Keep On Sittin' On It" and the subtly sly "Too Many Drivers." Even "Goin' Down Slow" - traditionally a downer if ever there was one - finds Di Anne utterly unrepentant; she's "had her fun," and faces the consequences fearlessly. There are three originals, two written by Di Anne's mother ("I love her writing," says Di Anne) and one, "Elaine," for which her mother provided the musical germ. Based on an historical event and written for a television documentary, it's the one song in which despair would seem to prevail - but given the horrors it deals with that's hardly surprising.
Di Anne delivers everything with a sultry, smoky voice that encompasses a lifetime of experience. Better, though, there's an intimacy, a sense that she's telling her stories to you and you alone that renders "Reekin'" an extraordinary listen.
"Reekin With Love" is quite simply the kind of disc one can't help but want to share. And I hope with all my heart that everyone who's read this review will indeed seek out Di Anne's work. I unequivocally promise your world be the better for it.
This one gets my very highest recommendation. No, wait . . . make that higher than highest!
Read the interview
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