Review: Sari Schorr – A Force Of Nature
Cadiz Music Ltd (Sept 2016)
Reviewer: Dan Mann
I guess I must kick off this review by thanking the legendary Mike Vernon who’s part of the driving force behind getting this album recorded and released. And it’s a genuine thanks as A Force Of Nature is an absolute belter of an album from the outset! The majority of the album is written or co-written by Sari Schorr herself, plus she’s gathered a real wealth of musical talent around her.
Kicking off with ‘Ain’t Got No Money‘ your ears are greeted with a guitar sound that really sets the tone for what’s to come. The guitarist in question is Innes Sibun who plays on the majority of the album. And then your greeted by Sari herself. Her voice is a wonderful blend of warmth and huskiness but with an ability to wail like the best of them.
There are bound to be similarities noted with the late, great Janis Joplin, but hey let’s face, it that ain’t a bad thing now is it?
‘Aunt Hazel‘, street slang for heroin, is a song full of emotion, not glorifying the drug, but highlighting the devastating effect it has on those who partake, Sari drawing on what she saw happen to a friend of hers. ‘Damn The Reason‘ see’s guitar duty taken up by the talented Oli Brown with a great guitar tone that so suits this slow burner of a number.
Love the into to ‘Cat And Mouse‘ with it’s funky guitar and Hammond organ. Yep an absolute foot tapper but a track that tells of Sari’s struggle to bring herself back to the fore after a disastrous time spent with a previous producer.
And so we reach the first single ‘Black Betty‘, the Lead Belly track best known for it’s cover by Ram Jam. But Sari doesn’t just cover it, she makes it her own, changing the style of the song but without losing it’s original roots. Next up is ‘Work No More‘ penned by the legendary Walter Trout who also plays on it. As a fan of Mr Trout it’s interesting to hear a song that’s unmistakably one of his but with a female singer. This gives it a more soulful feel, still the emotion that Walter brings to his songs, but Sari then layers it with a richness of tone.
‘Demolition Man‘ is another track that shows Sari writes about the real issues that affect people. Amnesty International passed a resolution that supports the decriminalization of sex work, and to show her support Sari decided to write a song about the virtues of legalized prostitution from a female perspective, while addressing the unfair bias those women face. ‘Oklahoma‘ sees Sari being joined by Oli Brown again on guitar. This track has real atmosphere, reminds me of the music Robert Cray released in the late 80’s with hints of Santana.
‘Letting Go‘ is dedicated to Mike Vernon’s late wife Natalie, and it’s just full of emotion and love. Sari’s style is different from the other tracks on the album, but it just highlights her versatility vocally. Oli returns for ‘Kiss Me‘. He was originally only going to play on one track but the two gelled so well it turned into three. What we have here is one hell of a sexy number, the huskiness of Sari’s voice once again coming to the fore!
Next we have another cover version, this time it’s The Supremes classic ‘Stop! In the Name of Love‘, but once again it comes with a twist! While still recognisable as the Motown hit, it’s had a blues rock make over.
And so we reach the final song. With the piano accompaniment of Jesús Lavillas, ‘Ordinary Life‘ could almost be called a jazz track. But whatever label you want to attach to it quite simply it’s a song of style and beauty.
Force Of Nature is an album I’ve found myself playing again and again, each time hearing something more. Really looking forward to seeing Sari sing this material live.