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Samantha Fish - 'Belle Of The West' Album Review


1. American Dream

2. Blood In The Water

3. Need You More

4. Cowtown

5. Daughters

6. Don't Say You Love Me

7. Belle Of The West

8. Poor Black Mattie (feat. Lightnin' Malcolm)

9. No Angels

10. Nearing Home (feat. Lillie Mae)

11. Gone For Good

Here's a fabulous Rootsy collection – and her second album of the year – from guitarist and singer-songwriter Samantha Fish. Whereas March's “Chills & Fever”was a fine collection of lesser-known R&B numbers, “Belle Of The West” sees her in the company of producer Luther Dickinson, Lightnin' Malcolm and Jimbo Mathus – who lend a tasty Mississippi hill country angle to the songs.

The 11-track collection is mainly penned by Samantha Fish's own songs, but with three covers – Jimbo Mathus's title track, the classic R.L. Burnside song, “My Black Mattie”, and Lillie Mae's “Nearing Home”. Samantha Fish made her name with a string of releases going back to 2009 – and made her Ruf Records debut on 2011's “Girls With Guitars”, which also featured Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde.

The album was as previously mentioned produced by the prolific Luther Dickinson – at Zebra Ranch Studio in Independence, Mississippi – hence the great North Mississippi vibe to a lot of the songs here.

Highlights are a plenty from the opening “American Dream”, which features the granddaughter of the legendary fife player Otha Turner – Sharde Thomas; the following cool country feel of “Blood In The Water”, with more lovely contributions from Thomas, and the violin of Little Mae – with a most restrained and delicate guitar solo from Fish herself.

The country influence returns on the excellent “Cowtown” - a mid-paced Rocker with some lovely 'twangy' guitar and nice vocal; the slow and brooding “Don't Say You Love Me” is a stand out with telling contributions from all, and needless to say the R.L. Burnside cover, “My Black Mattie” jumps out – with the great Lightnin' Malcolm on guitar, harmonica and vocals!

The penultimate track, Lillie Mae's “Nearing Home” is a beauty - with her violin and harmony vocals with Samanatha Fish . . . gorgeous indeed! The album comes to a glorious conclusion with the stomping blues of “Gone For Good”, with some driving slide guitar.

A cracking release and well worthy of investigation. May be not for the Blues Rockers who liked the more 'guitar-based' releases, but for all those who love the Blues on the Rootsy and Country side – a must!!

Review - Grahame Rhodes

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