Brigitte Purdy smoulders on Still I Rise

The only Brigitte Purdy I have heard of provided backing vocals to the inimitable Paul Rodgers on his Hendrix tour… after a little research, I was delighted to discover that it is indeed the same one and, with a recommendation like that, she must be good and deserves a listen. That research further revealed that her father was a blues guitarist in LA and shared his love of music with his daughter. She was also gifted musically and, at the age of 13, she was schooled in the art of the voice when she entered the famous Dorothy Chandler Conservatory. Named after a patron of the arts and culture, Dorothy Buffum Chandler was part of a team responsible for the reopening of the Hollywood Bowl and went on to raise funds for a ‘cultural centre’ in LA. The Los Angeles Music Center has three venues, one of which is named in her honour. It continues to help young performers to develop while providing stages for young and old to perform in a live setting. It obviously helped Brigitte, as she is now a confident, adept vocalist who has embraced the blues, soul and rock to bring us a varied and polished release.

Her latest album, Still I Rise, is the result of a collaboration with guitarist Dave Osti who co-wrote and produced the ten originals on this release.

Opener Hoodoo is a full-bodied blues shuffle where we get the first inkling that Ms Purdy has a voice of considerable power and fluidity if a bit Tina Turner occasionally on this track. Instrument-wise, it has a brilliant Hammond solo backed with well-crafted guitar only spoilt by the tambourine cymbals being a little annoying as they are too high in the mix. Be the Light reveals that Brigitte can do subtle, soulful and emotional vocals too as she puts some gospel into a blues ballad structure. This is a vocal to savour, as she implores people “to love one another and be true to you”. She may be from LA but Home Is My Heart seems to draw directly from the blues of Texas as the Hammond and guitar put the blues into context over her soulful vocal. The piano-driven My Kinda Blues shows a hint of southern influence with Osti showing he can really play as the solo, albeit too short, veers from a 60s feel in the first section and the 70s in the second, but together makes a great interlude. Brigitte goes all smouldery on Last Time, as this ballad shows her inner Etta to full effect. The guitar and Hammond again provide illumination without overpowering and, although not my preferred style, it is captivating and the guitar solo is so empathetic that I can’t help but like it. Get it Understood moves into funk with Wonder styled electric piano backing as Brigitte shows her full range without going all piercing as some are so wont to do. It is the incongruous synth that surprises: it shouldn’t work, but after a couple of listens it moves from jarring to more than acceptable. If I Could stays in the funky vein, with the bass being the star for me. It has a warm tone as it subtly lays down a perfect rhythm with the drums. Lucille Don’t You Weep is the highlight of the album as this tribute to BB King and his precious guitar takes his stylings and song titles to weave a tale of love for BB and his music. The gentle beginnings, with the piano and strings, may not conjure BB straightaway but once the guitar of Osti starts with the odd phrase and then a full-blown solo, there is no doubt. Blues Angel stirs it all up as, after blues, soul and funk we move to a jazz structure. The guitar rescues this one for me as Osti punctuates the song with some lovely phrases and lifts it beyond humdrum. The title track, driven by the keyboards, is a solid ending to a solid album. It builds slowly with lovely breathy vocals and builds through a sharp drum backing an orchestral piece. It comes together very well as Brigitte goes out on a high.

This is a very strong album and is hugely enjoyable, particularly after a couple of listens as the complexity of the compositions begin to reveal themselves. OK, there may be nothing new or earth-shattering, but there is a song for every mood and it is well worth a listen if you like soulful blues vocals, performed by a gifted lady backed by a skilful band of musicians.

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Tracklisting:

Tracklisting:

  1. Hoodoo
  2. Be The Light
  3. Home Is In My Heart
  4. My Kinda Blues
  5. Last Time
  6. Get It Understood
  7. If I Could
  8. Lucille Don’t You Weep
  9. Blues Angel
  10. Still I Rise

Musicians:
Brigitte Purdy: vocals
Dave Osti: guitars, keyboards
Jamie Hunting: bass
Eric Tice: drums
Gratz Aria: guitar
Drake Shining: keyboards
Kenny Neal: harmonica on Hoodoo
Donnell Spencer Jr.: drums on Blues Angel

Recorded at Loveless Motel Studios, California

 

Brigitte Purdy smoulders on Still I Rise

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.