Livewire describing Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion
The depth of material available at Zoe Schwarz’s fingertips is demonstrated in Livewire building on the 2015 live album I’ll Be Yours Tonight. Recorded at Chaplin’s Bar, Boscombe, Livewire is alive with passion and emotion as Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion deliver twelve tracks a mix of covers and songs written by Koral and Schwarz. We are in for a treat as we can share the evening with an audience obviously thrilled to be in the presence of a band that will always entertain.
The energy kicks off as Zoe and the band reveal that The Blues Don’t Scare Me. As on previous outings a true statement, Zoe Schwarz vocals give the blues a textural tone distinct and pure whilst the Blue Commotion harmonise around the lyrics. The two Pauls combine to give the album rhythm and punctuation that acts as a springboard for Zoe’s vocals and Rob Koral’s stellar manipulation of the six-strings. We are in for a treat as an original number gives ways to applause and a Portishead cover Glory Box. The reworking is stylish, accomplished slowing down as stripping back the number and re-forming with the tone of the blues and Zoe’s voice suits the re-working. The other covers have been carefully selected, fitting in with the tone of Livewire and showcasing Zoe’s instantly recognizable voice that purrs, growls and hits the top notes on Jay Hawkins’I Put A Spell On You. This is seductive, alluring and spellbinding. Into the mix we Move Over for Zoe as she takes on the mood and inflections of Janice Joplin, whilst not slavishly copying. The reworking of Bobby Parker’s Blues Gets Off My Shoulder, is slower more considered and suits the Commotion’s style. Into the live mix we have eight originals, penned by the partnership that is at the heart of the band Rob Koral and Zoe Schwarz. The songs all reflect the sound and shaping of the blues to their own unique style. Blues that has a feel of jazz and the clubs that were smoky and down some stairs, mysterious and a hint of something naughty. This though is not blues of the past the lyrics and delivery are contemporary and the fans just love what they do to the Blues. The audience and listeners are definitely In The Mood to sit back and enjoy the music that is grooving all night long. The beat picks up and the feet join in as Rob’s guitar introduces Heartbreak Tears and the vocals that are sung with sultry sadness by Zoe, compelling listening and a clever track drawing the album to a close. Not like all live performances we have an encore, in the shape of a bonus track. They say you can have Too Much Of A Good Thing, well not in the case of Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion, this is blues that doesn’t rock with electric overkill, it is smooth and has a style that has one foot in a bygone age and the other foot firmly in the here and now. The closing track has humour and a sense of playfulness as Zoe’s vocals plays tag with guitar and we know there is more of this good thing to come. Zoe once again moulds her voice to suit the tempo, pitch and feel of the blues they love to perform and share with the audiences.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….
Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion – Breaking and Entering – 33 Records
- The Blues Don’t Scare Me (Koral/Schwarz)
- Glory Box (Portishead)
- There’s Only You (Koral/Schwarz)
- I Put A Spell On You (Hawkins)
- Move Over (Joplin)
- I’m In The Mood (Koral/Schwarz)
- Come Home Sweet Baby (Koral/Schwarz)
- Blues Get Of My Shoulder (Parker)
- You Knock Me Out (Koral/Schwarz)
- I Won’t Cry Over You (Koral/Schwarz)
- Heartbreak Tears (Koral/Schwarz)
- Bonus Track – Too Much Of A Good Thing (Koral/Schwarz)