Shirley Davis and The Silverbacks ‘Wishes and Wants’ LP/CD/DIG (Tucxone) 4/5

It seems like an age but in reality it’s only a couple of years I think since Shirley’s “Black Rose” album was being played daily here and now today this excellent ten tracker is fracturing the silence with a grittier sound. The album was written by Davis in tandem with The Silverbacks’ musical director and lead guitarist Eduardo Martínez, plus song-writer Marc Ibarz. She’s packed a lot into her life, but eventually found her salvation in music, she had her successes and today, when you listen to this album, it’s clear her life has influenced what we are listening to.

She cites Stevie Wonder as her main musical influence. It’s a beautiful sunny hot day here and this brand of funk and soul just sounds so right, the advertising pack makes mention of sweet soul but there ain’t nothing sweet about any of this, it’s tough modern-day funk with a liberal smattering of soul. If you’re not familiar with this lot then you’re in for a great ride, think Charles Bradley, Lee Fields, Sharon Jones, Nicole Willis, Grace Love etc. and you have the overall sound, so that’s okay then, loads of horns, heavy bass, percussion to die for and we have our Shirl’s voice, what’s not to like.

There is truly some fine moments on here, but as usual some rise to the top, and so to “All About The Music” which has that old sounding new music sound set at the perfect ‘Crossover’ dance pace and then we move to the big cheese sound of “Smile”, what a tune, funky soul at its finest, there can be no doubt she has a superb voice, fragile with grits, a contradiction I know but at times her voice has a nervous tremble and then she’s telling you how it’s gonna be, love it, this is displayed in the down low “Troubles and Trials” an epic performance vocally, the band are seriously tight. A superb album and then some.

Brian Goucher