Album: Duffy, Rockferry (A&M)
Dusty in Gwynedd or the new Amy Winehouse?
It’s easy to see why the dollar signs are flashing around Duffy. The success of ‘Back to Black’, coupled with the scattiness of its creator, has left the industry craving a version of Amy who actually turns up on time to appointments.
Duffy, a Bardothaired beauty from the Llyn peninsula, is a round peg for that hole, and a superior one to all the other contenders. She deserves better, though, than to be someone else’s stand-in. Duffy’s debut album recalls the Sixties heyday of Bacharach and David, Dionne and Dusty, often all too literally echoing that era. (“Warwick Avenue” borrows from “My Girl”, Stepping Stone” from “Walk On By”, “Mercy” from “Stand By Me”.)
But for all the Springfield and Winehouse comparisons, nobody’s spotted that Duffy’s voice is actually a dead ringer for Eighties jazz chanteuse Carmel. ‘Rockferry’ is, to a large extent, Bernard Butler’s baby: he co-wrote and produced four tracks, and played on a further three that he didn’t write.
It’s a credit to Duffy that she’s able to make the so-so material shine, as well as rising to the challenge of the better stuff. Her technique can feel overbearing, but more often than not, you’re enchanted.
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