Ms. Jody ‘(I Got That) Thunder Under Yonder’ CD/DIG (Ecko) 3/5

First up, this is a southern soul album with weak production values (there have been countless numbers of those over the years in soul music), and so long as you approach it with that in mind, you’ll be okay. As is the case with a lot of these albums the simple inclusion of a real drummer and some horns would elevate most of these albums considerably. There is never any information on these albums as to where it was cut and who played on what so it’s down these ageing ears, I seriously doubt there are any live musicians behind Ms. Jody, sounding like synthesisers of sorts all the way. But let’s deal with the music we have been presented with, rather than how it was constructed.

Ms. Jody has a very commanding voice but at times shows some vulnerability, in the past, her albums have had a mixture of good solid numbers with her more up-tempo tracks falling below par, mindless thumping music which lacks any musical quality. So we have to approach it differently as all is not lost. The the mid tempo “Another Other Woman”, with its subject matter, steeped in black history via Barbara Mason and Shirley Brown (to name but two who explored this subject) is where Ms. Jody does a mighty fine job, with her voice showing signs of cracking at times (that’s not a critisism), lyrically very powerful and commanding your attention. Musically this has some nice touches too, “Let It Flow” is another mid tempo tune with a vocal that grabs your attention. Radio shows like that of Big Daddy who cater for souther soul will jump on to this for sure as there are some stand out pieces. One track that has gotten under my skin and into my head is “You’re Letting A Good Man’s Lovin Go To Waste”. One of those ageless tales of one woman not looking after her man and another waiting in the wings to do just that, all set to a toe tapping head nodding pace. Of the uptempo tracks try “I’m So Confused”, which is very danceable and melody mixed in, unlike some of the other one-dimensional tracks on the album. A voice that can not be ignored, but an album that leaves the listener hoping it had human beings playing instruments rather than machines – we really do need those albums to be a thing of the past.

Brian Goucher