Album: Beverley Knight <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Music City Soul, Parlophone
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The Independent Culture

Perhaps seeking to emulate the American success of Joss Stone, Beverley Knight has recorded her latest album in the soul homeland of the Deep South - except that instead of Miami, Memphis or Muscle Shoals, she's opted for Nashville, a locale more renowned for its white-music tradition. This doesn't matter when she's in full-on Aretha mode for the thrilling "Every Time You See Me Smile" and a cover of the Queen of Soul's "Rock Steady", but doesn't exactly help in salvaging "Tell Me I'm Wrong", "Why Me, Why You, Why Now" and "Trade It Up", a late trio of songs every bit as uninspired and by-the-numbers as Stone's recent output. But there's compensation aplenty elsewhere, in tracks such as "After You", whose melody and rhythm recall Al Green's classic work with Willie Mitchell; the impassioned funk strutter "Black Butta"; a punchy cover of Homer Banks's classic "Ain't That a Lot of Love"; and especially "No Man's Land", whose horns and Spooner-Oldham-esque electric piano smoulder gently behind a Knight "so ashamed you're still living rent-free in my brain".