When: Fri., April 12 2013
LADY You can argue soul music was at its finest when it was also message music — Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” The Impressions “People Get Ready,” Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?,” Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up” and Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” being prime evidence. We end with the latter because it’s as relevant, in the boys club of music, as it was when Aretha made it hers (Otis Redding wrote it) in 1967, and because it’s the rock upon which Londoner Terri Walker and Atlanta’s Nicole Wray build their new project. But their excellent self-titled debut is no mere retro-soul homage. Walker’s collaborated with Mos Def and T. Williams, been nominated for the Mercury Prize, and hailed as Britain’s answer to Jill Scott and Mary J. Blige. Wray was discovered by Missy Elliott at 17, and has worked with Q-Tip, Kid Cudi and The Black Keys. Lady may be Truth & Soul label mates with the boys in the band, but beneath the Muscle Shoals rhythms, Gamble and Huff strings and Stax horns beats a pair of thoroughly modern women’s hearts delivering an ode to sisters everywhere. You’ll hear everybody from Freda Payne and pre-disco Gloria Gaynor to ‘Retha and Blige in these songs, but mostly you’ll hear the message — move over boys, we’re here to stay.