Tuesday, March 20, 2018


I recently slammed Randy Bachman for his ham-handed tribute to George Harrison, By George, as an example of what not to do in a covers album. On the other side, we have this, with LeGrow doing updates of classic Chess Records songs from the '50's and '60's. The key word is update, and Bachman's grievous error was that his covers did nothing to move the songs forward, but instead offered reinterpretations stuck in cliches. Here, Toronto's LeGrow comes up with soulful, modern and captivating versions of these well-worn numbers that brings them alive again.

Chuck Berry's playful You Never Can Tell is rendered as a simmering ballad, with LeGrow's elegant vocals capturing our attention, never letting go. Fontella Bass' immortal Rescue Me is delivered as something funky and hot, slower but spicier.
When she does play it straight, such as Long Lonely Nights, originally by Lee Andrews on Chess, but better known by Bobby Vinton, she simply wows with her great, emotional delivery, winning the song back from Vinton's schmaltz.

Nicely, the album isn't filled with the Chess sampler hits, but goes deeper to grab some obscurities, such as Hold On by The Radiants. She also reminds us that certain well-known numbers were originally Chess cuts, such as Sincerely, a big sappy #1 hit for the McGuire Sisters in 1956 but first done by The Moonglows. And another great idea was doing a medley of You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover with Berry's You Can't Catch Me. Everything about this album is fresh and inspired.

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