Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hit the beat and take it to the verse now...

I first encountered Welsh R&B chanteuse Duffy while streaming the BBC online last winter. Already a megastar in the UK, her hit "Mercy" is starting to pick up speed on this side of the pond (on a recent trip to Ohio, I heard it blasting in a Ruehl so loudly that I was genuinely concerned about the welfare of the teenage employees. And wow is Ruehl a strange shopping experience, by the way.)

Duffy's US debut, Rockferry, is a short album, but there isn't a weak track on it - just good solid retro R&B that often sounds like it was unearthed from the Motown vault circa 1967. Comparisons to Amy Winehouse are a little overstated - Duffy has a softer quality to both her voice and her subject matter and she embraces the classic Motown sound more fully than Winehouse (who in my opinion is at her best when she combines classic jazz and modern club sounds into her brand of R&B, but that's a subject for another day.)

Highlights of the album include "Warwick Avenue," "Delayed Devotion" and, of course, "Mercy." Here she is performing "Mercy" live on Later with Jools Holland last November:

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