Lady Di (New CD Review, New Artist Guide)
Daddy B. Nice's #130 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"All The Time Groovin'"
Lady Di (New CD Review, New Artist Guide)
May 10, 2017: Re-Posted from Daddy B. Nice's NEW CD REVIEWS
LADY DI: Three Way Love Affair (Willie Ray Russell / Hittman Records) Four Stars **** Distinguished Effort. Should please old fans and gain new.A little over a year ago, in a review titled "LADY DI: Love Don't Owe Me Nothing (Hittman) Three Stars *** Solid Debut by a New Female Vocalist," I wrote:
...And it might behoove Russell and Caver (Lady Di) at this point in her career to pull together Lady Di's best work--not a "best of" yet, just best--along with two or three strong new tracks for her next collection, hopefully coming in 2016, and really make a definitive statement.
Well, I'll be damned if she and her husband/producer Willie Ray Russell didn't take your Daddy B. Nice's advice. THREE WAY LOVE AFFAIR pulls together everything of worth Lady Di's ever recorded. In spite of publishing four solo albums, Lady Di's gotten “nil” interest in the meantime. Googling her gets you the late Princess Dianna of England, and even southern soul insiders confuse her with Hot Spot Record's Angel Faye Russell, a more technically-powerful singer.
But in a month (May 2017) when I was inundated with good music and could have easily put out two quality Top 10 "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles charts, I derived so much enjoyment from Lady Di's work that I was compelled to make a "statement":
Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Preview For. . .
....2."All The Time Grooving" / "Love On The Dance Floor"----Lady Di
Now this is a strain of southern soul (Bobbye Johnson, Gina Brown, Renea Mitchell, Lina) we must not lose. Romantic melodies, pop-friendly arrangements, caressing female vocals. It's so hard to get it just right as "southern soul," but Lady Di does here. From her creatively-produced new album, THREE WAY LOVE AFFAIR.
Di doesn't impress you with her technique, the way--say--similarly young and upcoming singers like Jureesa McBride and Val McKnight do. Instead, she relies on sincerity, emotion and a discerning sense of what appeals.
"All The Time Grooving," first recorded in 2012, is her self-effacing masterpiece and signature anthem. Bolstered by a memorable acoustic guitar riff and a wonderfully-nuanced melody and chorus, the song ages like a choice wine.
Listen to Lady Di singing "All The Time Grooving" on YouTube.
The enthralling "Love Overdrive" also appeared in 2012, on Di's amazing (and completely overlooked) album, GOOD TIME TONIGHT. What impresses is the simplicity and affection conveyed. Both songs are braised in the ambience of good times and love that has never known paranoia.
Listen to Lady Di singing "Love Overdrive" on YouTube.
There are some derivative exercises. “Roll It,” with its Rascals-inspired rhythm track and keyboards, sounds like Quinn Golden’s “Bottoms Up" (which also borrowed from "Groovin'"). "I Came To Party" recycles the Staples Singers' "I'll Take You There," with an overt acknowledgement in the lyrics.
And "Put It All On The Line" reminds me of an old Lynn White song I can't put my finger on. "Where The Party At?"--delivered in an eighty's jock-jam, techno style--is the only song in the set that may cross a "musical" line for typical fans.
But for the most part, the songs roll out with refreshing musculature and variety. Producer Willie Ray Russell is no stranger to hiphop; see the Timbaland-influenced "Love On The Dance Floor". But he also uses his knowledge of R&B--like Ann Peeble's "Can't Stand The Rain"--to make "Love On The Dance Floor" work as southern soul. Listening to the lyrics, you really do remember what it's like to "make love" on the dance floor, or--as is sometimes even better--"lead up to making love" on the dance floor.
And, more often, Di mines a classic riff you can’t readily associate with any particular oldie. The arrangement subsequently kicks in like a booster rocket--for example, the "Summer Madness"-like synthesizer throughout "(It Ain't Easy) Getting Over You."
Listen to Lady Di singing "Getting Over You" on YouTube.
"My Side Of The Bed" and "Three Way Love Affair," the title tune, mine the same, mid-tempo, sweet-spot of southern soul, never intimidating you with histrionics, just insinuating themselves subtly into your memory bank. And there are many more tracks: fourteen in all.
In the end, Lady Di may remind you of so many of the fascinating, mostly one-and-done songstresses of modern southern soul--the Keri's, the Coco's, the Judi Brown Eyes', the Queen Isabella's--who have captured, albeit briefly, the southern soul imagination. The difference with Lady Di is that, like the great Peggy Scott-Adams, who owes her lofty status in the southern soul canon to her collaborator, the legendary writer/producer Jimmy Lewis, Lady Di has her "enabler" in Willie Ray Russell. He brings a lot of mainstream hiphop to these songs, but he also knows and loves his southern soul.
One of the quirks of this album is an elongated silence between tracks; just a second or two of dead space seems like an eternity. But after listening to THREE WAY LOVE AFFAIR a few times, I like the way the long pause “brings down a curtain” and “makes it rise again.” The songs on this album deserve the space, like artworks in a gallery.
It's high time Lady Di copped a "listen". Not technically accomplished per se, THREE WAY LOVE AFFAIR is nevertheless full of great material delivered with conviction and--even harder to find these days--a prevailing flair for romance.
--Daddy B. Nice
Sample/Buy Lady Di's THREE WAY LOVE AFFAIR CD at CD Baby.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Lady Di (New CD Review, New Artist Guide)
Daddy B. Nice's Original Profile:Re-Posted from Daddy B. Nice's NEW CD Reviews:
December 13, 2015:
LADY DI: Love Don't Owe Me Nothing (Hittman) Three Stars *** Solid Debut by a New Female Vocalist.
Not to be confused with the late British princess, lead singer Diane Caver (Lady Di) fronts a five-piece band that works the wedding/anniversary circuit. Along with her partner/producer (Willie) Ray Russell, she's actually recorded four albums in four years through CD Baby, 2015's Love Don’t Owe Me Nothing being the latest. It's an intelligent though derivative collection, with a range of interesting styles and arrangements. Lady Di's vocals are passable if not first-rate, and the live instruments--in particular the competent lead guitar--give the album solidity and depth.
Lady Di's vocals impressed me more as I researched her earlier albums, in particular:
Listen to Lady Di singing "All The Time Groovin’" on YouTube.
from the CD... Good Time Tonight
Listen to Lady Di singing "The Good the Bad & the Pain" on YouTube.
Listen to Lady Di singing "I Found A Love" on YouTube.
from the CD.... The Good the Bad & the Pain
...not to mention last year's (2014) Get It Right.
The new CD, "Love Don’t Owe Me Nothing," puts more emphasis on the southern soul "mix" than on the vocals.
Listen to Lady Di singing "Love Don’t Owe Me Nothing" on YouTube.
Presumably, that's the justification for the rock-and-rolling of the blues in the techno rendition of "Where's The Party At?" or the mid-tempo caresses of the "Groovin'"-derived "Roll It" or the Timbaland/Missy Elliot-influenced "Love On The Dance Floor" or the Big Cynthia-like "Didn't Take My Man."
The new album weaves an interesting tapestry, but the earlier albums, particularly The Good the Bad & the Pain and Good Time Tonight, do more to showcase Di's singing artistry, and it might behoove Russell and Caver at this point in her career to pull together Lady Di's best work--not a "best of" yet, just best--along with two or three strong new tracks for her next collection, hopefully coming in 2016, and really make a definitive statement.
--Daddy B. Nice
Sample/Buy Lady Di's Love Don’t Owe Me Nothing CD at CD Baby.
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