Nicole Atkins: Neptune City (Sony BMG)

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Nicole Atkins: Maybe Tonight
Nicole Atkins: Neptune City (Sony BMG)

Because I was lucky enough to grow up in a time of tough-voiced women singers (Dusty, Cilla, Lulu and then Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and onwards) the wispy wee-girl types like Jewel just irritate the hell out of me. I'd rather not even talk about Mariah's endless sexual obsession with herself either.

So round my way great belters like Duffy will get airtime and those faux-folk sensitive girls will be passed over lightly. I like women singers who sing about adult stuff, not women pretending to be coy college girls.

This album by a New Jersey singer conjured up the spirits of Ronnie Spector, Grace Slick, the much underrated Patti Scialfa (Mrs Springsteen) and others who can nail a note from the far side of a large room.

Atkins comes from the album's titular place (just around the corner from Asbury Park for what it's worth) and sounds like she grew up with r'n'b bar bands, big-voiced show tunes and maybe a touch of French chanson. Oh, and acres of radio pop-rock.

This debut has its faults -- it seems a bit over-produced and backing-heavy -- but Atkins has a voice to be thrilled by.

It made me want to get out my old Genya Ravan albums (if that means anything to you) and pump up a bit of aching Patsy Cline, Ronnie Spector and Roy Orbison (yep, she sometimes has that kind of drama too).

Have a look/listen at her MySpace page.

 

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