Judith Owen: Mopping Up Karma (Courgette)

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Judith Owen: Message From Heaven
Judith Owen: Mopping Up Karma (Courgette)

This album came out many months ago and for some reason slipped my attention: it might have continued to sit in the pile while more pressing albums came along were it nor for the alarming inner sleeve which I just discovered in which Owen looks like a slightly younger but equally buttoned-up-in-leather version of Frau Blucher in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein.

Not that such an image should make you listen to an album, but Owen has appeared at Elsewhere previously with her Happy This Way album, and it had more than a little going for it in the angular singer-songwriter stakes where the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Bjork, Feist and others lurk.

There's a melodramatic quality about some of her work (I Promise You here could have fallen into the hands of Celine Dion for some serious abuse), and she sometimes stalks a line between the theatre and the concert stage. Interestingly though a couple of songs are produced by Glen Ballard who has produced Alanis Morissette (when she was good), a bunch of country artists and some seriously overblown ballads for movies.

Tom Petty Heartbreaker Benmont Tench plays organ, Julia Fordham does some backing vocals . . . . and you'd be a brave reviewer to try to sum this up in an easy phrase: there is pomp balladry alongside gritty confessional stuff, funky Sixties pop and stuff that sounds like it was written for a romantic movie in which a handsome man in uniform sweeps a pretty woman off her feet - if you get my drift.

Not quite as interesting as her previous album, but clearly a bid for Hollywood attention. The best stuff isn't those tracks.

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