Ida Sand with Stockholm Underground ‘My Soul Kitchen’ LP/CD (ACT) 4/5

Now on her fifth album with the ACT label, blue-eye soulstress Ida Sand has effortlessly combined neo-soul, classic R&B and funk, and this latest offering is well up to her usual high standard. What immediately comes across is how well grounded in the soul tradition Sand is and that is reflected in both her knowledge of the evolution of the genre and in her judicious selection of covers and originals. The singer is steeped in the blues tradition and on, ‘It’s Your Voodoo Working’, she delivers a catchy mid-tempo funky-blues while the soul blues are in evidence on, ‘Take Me To The River’, with some tasty guitar and Hammond organ. Some of the greats are paid homage to with an old-style R&B cover of Ray Charles’ ‘I Believe In My Soul’, an absolutely stunning rendition and nothing quite reaches that height elsewhere. However, the funky drum beat accompaniment to Stevie Wonder’s ‘Please Don’t Hurt My Baby’ works, as does the understated vocal delivery on the Meters’ ‘Just Kissed My Baby’. In fact, New Orleans soul permeates parts of the album as with, ‘Born On The Bayou’. In places, the singer-songwriter in Sand comes to the fore as on ‘I Have Nothing Left For You’, which is reminiscent of Norah Jones. Of the four Sand originals, ‘Where The Hell Are You’, has an alt-country feel, though with a percussive funk undercurrent and the soul-blues of, ‘Crash and Burn’, is possibly the pick of the quartet of numbers with some deft touches on electric piano and fine reeds arrangements. Co-produced by Nils Landgren and Siggi Loch, the instrumentation is ideally empathetic to the singer’s needs and that means the listener is very much the winner on this occasion.

Tim Stenhouse