The second album from Ann Savoy & Her Sleepless Knights finds Ann and the guys doing what they do best: taking standards of the pop, blues and French variety, both familiar and obscure, and making them their own.
In his liner notes, T Bone Burnett, a long-time Ann fan, notes, “She doesn’t imitate the past, she animates it…” It’s an assertion that is easily verified with even the most cursory listening to the new album where Ann is again backed by the stellar “Le Hot Club of Paris”-inspired combo fronted by Tom Mitchell (guitar) and Kevin Wimmer (fiddle) with Eric Frey on upright bass, Chas Justus on rhythm guitar and Glenn Fields on drums.
While Ann had been long-associated with traditional Cajun music as a result of her work with the Savoy Family Band (the Savoy-only group that includes husband Marc, youngest son Wilson and Black Coffee co-producer and eldest son Joel) as well as with the Savoy-Ducet Band, Black Coffee is just not that kind of record. Its roots go back to Tin Pan Alley, to pre-war Paris, the Mississippi Delta and down to New Orleans with an approach that’s both cosmopolitan and authentic. There are blues songs associated with Bessie Smith, a special favorite of Ann’s, as well as classics from the Django Reinhart, the Gershwins, Rodgers & Hart and Johnny Mercer canons. There is something subtle and wonderful that Ann does that makes the material audibly ‘breathe’ in a manner of speaking. Ann adds life to whatever she does and these songs are no exception.
The fact is that Ann is a brilliant vocalist who is as at home harmonizing with Linda Ronstadt on one of their collaborations as she is as getting her Cajun stomp going with the Magnolia Sisters. As the “girl singer,” backed by the brilliant musicianship of the Sleepless Knights, she takes flight as never before. Ann offers a quick tour of the album’s tracks that are as soul enriching as a steaming urn of, yes, Black Coffee. I Cried For You - I have heard this by Dede Pierce from New Orleans, and also by Billie Holiday. This woman is on the other side of her pain, feeling strong, and throwing it back in her ex-lover’s face. Whoa, Tilly, Take Your Time - I have been listening to Bessie Smith for decades, and have always loved her double entendre songs. She was such a powerhouse, full of humor and spirit. Nuages: This beautiful Django Reinhardt song has been recorded many times, but not often with the lyrics. They paint a still life of a scene: a gray train platform, a floating handkerchief, a cloud passing.
|Release Date||Dec 1, 2015|
|Artist||Ann Savoy & Her Sleepless Knights|
|Record Label||Memphis International Records|
|Number of Discs||1|
|Box Lot Quantity||30|