Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar
Today, Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar release their highly anticipated latest studio album, ‘The Reckless One’, via Gypsy Soul Records. With the worldwide pandemic wrecking utter havoc upon the careers of many musicians, the band elected to use their time off the road to record their latest tour-de-force, and it's the follow-up to 2018’s Juno-nominated 'Run To Me'. Eleven of the album’s twelve songs were either co-written or solely composed by the multi-faceted artist. Indeed, her music embodies Roots, Blues, Blues Rock, Soul, R&B, including a dash of Motown - performed by an ensemble of amazing musicians at the top of their game.
Just make sure you don your pork pie hat for their opener, 'Love Is All Around', as Samantha sings that you, "just place your hand in mine", as she introduces you to her funky Blues Brothers and Sisters, with their foot stomping horns, keys and a cool instrumental. Indeed, there's no let up, with more of the same from their first single, 'Don't Have To Be', this time with bongos thrown in for good measure. In fact the openers encompass everything we currently miss about on the floor dance numbers, and you could quite easily imagine the smile on Samantha's face when performing these in your mind's eye. The only cover on the album is slower, but still yet another Funk infused toe-tapper with some glorious keys, that not only showcases one musical legend, Bob Dylan, but also another, as we hear a much rawer dimension to Samantha's voice, that draws obvious comparisons to Tina Turner - simply the best.
'Loving You Is Easy', not only builds and grows as a track, but also upon repeated plays, thanks mainly to some great complementary backing vocals and a mean slide guitar instrumental. Horns aplenty herald 'One Heartbreak', with it's tingly keys instrumental plus another raw Martin vocal, whilst the band's latest single, the superb 'I've Got A Feeling', sees the dexterous voiced Samantha nail the first of two 12/8 Gospel infused Soul ballads. Hallelujah! Six down, six to go, and the band continue to explore further genre territory with 'Sacrifice', and its galloping Jeff Lynne meets 'Silver Star' feel intro, followed up with a big dose of Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound influence, before returning back to more familiar ground, and another delightful ballad, 'So I Always Know', which slows things down nicely again.
Time to put that titfer back on again, as the unrelenting beat of 'Pass Me By' picks up the pace, with another nod to Spector with a Motown twist, as Martin's gritty vocal once again accentuates her versatility, drawing understandable comparisons to that of Scotland's finest - Lulu. 'Better To Have Never' is the second of Samantha's outstanding 12/8 Gospel infused Soul ballads, its sweet mid-section guitar solo, giving our waving arms a well deserved rest! Taking us back to the early Soul and R&B of the early 70's is the simply constructed, 'All That I Am', with its atmospheric, stand-out backing vocals, whilst, closing out 'The Reckless One' is 'Who Do You', and its powerful Amy Winehouse vibe, which sees Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar, for mine, saving their best to last.
Detecting a panoply of influences ranging from Mavis Staples, Sharon Jones and Otis Redding To Booker T. and the MG's and the Memphis Horns, it's an astonishingly powerful, funky and deeply soulful album. Indeed, 'The Reckless One' represents another massive step forward for this shapeshifting vocalist, together as a songwriter, singer, arranger and band-leader.