1970s styled blues-rock act Deborah Bonham is a hugely accomplished songwriter and performer, the kind of girl that gets your juices going with her uncompromising music. Sister of the late John Bonham, famed drummer with Led Zeppelin she has herself been making music ever since her debut album in 1985 (For You And The Moon). Spirit was originally released in 2014, and like with the aforementioned release and her albums Duchess and The Old Hyde it has been reissued in an enhanced remastered format. As is the case here with a bonus track or two included. Spirit includes all of the material from the original recording sessions, all the tracks on a limited edition pre-release plus an additional, previously unreleased track!
Bonham’s rootsy style of music, the impassioned tone of her stellar lead vocal is a delight to sample. Her honesty and dynamic style is one to savour. Like you would a good malt whiskey. While her connections do her no harm she is not overshadowed by anyone, and when it comes to performing her own material you could not imagine anyone doing a better job. Whether it be Paul Rogers with whom she performed as part of what was a near sold-out FREE Spirit Tour earlier this year or her friend, and mentor Robert Plant (his harmonica work figures on the restless groove formed rocker “What It Feels”) !
Mixing blues - rock with hints of soul and country Americana Bonham eases across the spectrum seamlessly, and with her excellent songwriting Spirit is as dynamic as it is accomplished. On the songwriting front there's co-writes with band members Pete Bullick (guitars, mandolin), Gerard Louis (keyboards) and Ian Rowley (bass guitar) plus those with Hogg and Sessler and three solo written tunes; “Take Me Down”, “My Life” and as she looks outside her comfort zone, “Killing Fields”.
“Killing Fields” is an impassioned affair, and it has a familiar feel to it. Her vocals, especially on the less fiery moments lend something special. While smooth runner “Take Me Down” lends itself to easier listening, this as hints of Americana country complete with a southern ambiance rears. Once again she does an excellent job. Boys from the 1970s southern rock scene would certainly approve of her work! Others of note include smouldering ballad “Bring Out The Joy” , and there’s more slow burners. Radio friendly “I Won’t Let You Down” speaks of her virtues in a relationship, and of how she pleads with him to open his heart, step back a little and give love the opportunity to mature. I have yet to see her live, after hearing this album I am certainly tempted.
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