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Back to the River

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Back to the River
Composer: Susan Tedeschi
Label: Verve Forecast
Release Date: 2008-11-12
Rated: NONE
Genre: Recording

Tedeschi spent the past two summers touring with husband/slide-guitar ace Derek Trucks in their Soul Stew Revival, focusing on the couple’s affinity for old-school blues and early ’70s classic rock. It shows here, as Tedeschi delivers a dynamic album that is one of the year’s best.

The title track is a wah-wah-infused slice of simmering funk with fiery vocals that conjure the spirit of Janis. There’s more exotic funk on “Butterfly,” featuring Trucks on slide, with a sound recalling Jimi’s Band of Gypsies. Another highlight is a powerful take on Allen Toussaint’s New Orleans soul classic, “There’s a Break in the Road.”

Several songs display social awareness. The anthemic “People” is an uplifting rocker in which Tedeschi’s melodic side shines bright — this should have been the victory song for Obama in Chicago’s Grant Park. Songs like “Revolutionize Your Soul” and the Santana-ish “True” also bring a soulful and conscious vibe, while “700 Houses” is a bluesy lament on Hurricane Katrina. This is the album that Tedeschi fans have been waiting for.

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