Astrid Jones & The Blue Flaps ‘Stand Up’ (Private Press) 5/5

astrid-jonesWell, their I was basking in the 34 degrees in Bilbao Spain for our yearly sojourn to the Soul4Real weekender, with no less than the immense Barbara Mason live with a full band including a string section. The weekender takes the shape of 2 full on all-nighters plus a six-hour session of deep, sweet ballads etc. Barbara Mason came on stage on Saturday night at 9:30pm and completely blew us all away, her performance of one of my all time faves “Yes Im ready” will stay with me until the my end. The backing singers were very impressive, 2 ladies and one hell of a male voice. After the concert I caught with the three of them outside and found them to be down to earth, lovely people. I also caught with them in the club later where Astrid sold me her cd, she managed to offload all she had, self distributed it seems at the minute so we need to help her get it out there mainstream, at the time I bought it blind, bloody hell am I glad I did, the whole album makes for astounding listening pleasure, all self-written and produced by Astrid (hark at me calling her by her first name) a real band too, real instruments. Space is always at a premium and these reviews are simply meant to stimulate some interest and get you to go and have a listen for yourself, some highlights then, the opener “Something else” is a cracking head nodding, foot tapper that is hard to get past, so easy to hit that replay button. Can I just tell you that Astrid’s voice is a beautiful tool she uses so so well, lots of jazz inflections in their, and there is no doubt about her soulfulness either…………….other highs are “Stand up” and “I wanna say” but the cream that has risen to the top is the sumptuous sax led “Power”, on repeated plays here at home for sure however; “Who they are “ is creeping up on the rails as a contender for a place in my top ten, it’s a superb dancer that sits perfectly with my southern soul plays out, hell the album’s already secured its place. The album was recorded in Madrid and mastered in Washington DC and sung by a marvellous new voice that I can’t get enough of.

Brian Goucher