Album: Beth Rowley, Little Dreamer (Blue Thumb)

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The Independent Culture

On her solo debut, Beth Rowley is a more deserving inheritor of the Dusty Springfield mantle than either Duffy or Adele, though the lack of comparably overcooked hype will probably ensure that Little Dreamer fails to emulate the immediate impact of Rockferry or 19.

Which may be for the best: this is an album whose manifold delights are best discovered at a more considered pace, to allow the gracefully modulated blues and soul stylings of songs such as "So Sublime" and "Only One Cloud" time to seep into one's consciousness. Production duties are split between the pop-conscious settings of Steve Powers on songs such as "So Sublime", and the rootsier treatments of Bacon & Quarmby, whose assemblage of organ, piano and horns on covers of Billy Sherrill's "Almost Persuaded" and Willie Nelson's "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground" has the grainy, textured quality of The Band.

Elsewhere, their marshalling of ukulele, National steel guitar, harmonica and gospel choir brings out the Bonnie Raitt inflections in Rowley's delivery, never a bad thing for a sophisticated blues chanteuse.

Pick of the album:'Almost Persuaded', 'Beautiful Tomorrow', 'So Sublime', 'Nobody's Fault But Mine'