Kelly Z and "the Lot"

*** KELLY Z "Rescue" - Peter Merrett, PBS106.7, Melbourne, Australia

* Label: Self.

* Kelly Z (Zirbes): Lead Vocals.

* Bryan Head: Drums & Percussion.

* Rick Reed: Bass.

* John Marx: Guitar.

* Mo Beeks: Keyboards.

* Andy Najera: Sax.

* Stan Martin: Trumpet.

* Roy Wiegand: Trumpet on track 3.

* Barry Goldberg: Hammond B3 on track 3.

* Chuck Kavooras: Slide Guitar on track 5.

* Perry Robertson: Solo Guitar on track 2. Vocal on track 4.

* Teresa James, Shari Puorto and Lisa Orloff Staley: Background Vocals.


*** Track 1. - "What Do I Have To Do" Written by James Brown & Marva Whitney.

Big bold brassy intro that showcases Kelly's amazing soul drenched voice. Energetic and gritty power driven interpretation with an attitude that makes a powerful statement. Mo Beeks riffs all over this one and man it sounds so very right as this band just nails it. Tight as can be with an in your face attitude the band are fearless in their attack on this song. All in all this will make anybody sit up and take attention. Wow you have me in the palm of your hand Ms. Kelly Z.


*** Track 2. - "Baby It's You" Written by Burt Bacharach, Mack David & Barney Williams.

Soulful ballad that again showcases Kelly's voice in a moody sensual tone that is drenched with emotion and pathos. Heavy drumming from Head drives the sound but the omnipresent brass fills the background along with Marx's stinging guitar. Kelly certainly knows how to get the very best out of her amazing voice and this ballad displays perfectly just how good a singer she is and one that most certainly commands attention. 


*** Track 3. - "You Don't Realize" Written by Michael Bloomfield.

When l saw this Electric Flag song on the playlist l was quite surprised as it was a Blues ballad from the pen of Bloomfield from 1968. That is until l heard Kelly Z sing it, wow what a revelation! She conjured up images of Janis Joplin in my mind with her phrasing and tonality. The performance here is epic and one that is simply breathtaking. The orchestration is also sublime and the charts are to die for as they are so very sympathetic to the sheer majesty of the pathos of the lyrics and vocals. There is so much that can be said about this song but l don't have the words due to the sheer beauty that has unfolded around me. This is a piece of musical genius and l can only say bravo!


*** Track 4. - "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" Written by Rose Marie McCoy.

Originally a hit for the love hate coupling of Ike and Tina Turner here Kelly really makes the song hers. Guitarist Perry Robertson plays the foil to Kelly as James, Puorto and Staley provide the wonderful backing vocals. This is another great example of the versatility of just how great a voice Kelly has as she easily adapts to each and every song style. This certainly is a smile inducing feel good song and that it does so very well. I think everybody listening will be singing along as it is such a well known classic but then realise just how wonderful this version is and just how memorable it is. Heh l really dig it.


*** Track 5. - "Trying To Find My Mind" Written by Tina Turner.

If you are going to sing a Tina Turner penned song then it is very hard not to sing with the same intensity and Kelly Z can do so very easily. To add to the gritty sound Kavooras provides the down and dirty swampy guitar. Strong percussion from the rhythm section certainly drive this one along with a unrelenting beat that has a take no prisoners feel about it. If you like a growl and howl with your vocals and a lady who doesn't hold back then you are listening to the right lady with Kelly Z.


*** Track 6. - "He Called Me Baby" Written by Marion Howard.

This was a hit for Candi Staton but on listening to this recording one could easily assume that Howard had written it expressly for Kelly Z. The passion she puts into every lyric is palpable. Such a beautiful song sung with complete conviction that raises the song to dizzying heights of grandeur. Again Mo Beeks is sublime with this magnificent band. If ever a song was mean't to be sung by a singer then here we have the perfect coupling as this is a flawless rendition that has given me goose bumps. Throughout the perfection grows and grows as does the emotion within the listener. There is no way that this track can be improved and we are so very privileged to be able to hear it.


*** Track 7. - "Do Your Thing" Written By Issac Hayes.

Heavily groove laden song from one of the coolest singers ever in Issac Hayes. Kelly Z steps into a whole different world as she lays down some honey drenched vocals. Not only does she nail it but she redefines the song as her own. Not an easy thing to do but with such a distinctive evocative versatile voice anything is possible. Sexy and sassy comes to mind as she channels a time of Afro hair do's and flaired pants perfectly. Marx provides the exquisite understated guitar as the rhythm section certainly drive the sound along once again. Now this is how you pay homage to Issac Hayes.


*** Track 8. - "You Are My Sunshine " Written by Jimmie Davis.

Wow now this is a surprise for sure, such a song out of left field. Kelly Z you are no conformist and l for one are very grateful for that as you are fearless and so very creative. This is one brilliant interpretation of the song that has made it so very modern and pertinent to today. Powerful gutsy sound with a definite jungle beat for good measure with pounding horns and rhythm section. Kelly's vocals are gritty and firm as she states her case throughout leaving nothing to the imagination as to just what she means. Now this is how you can take the past and bring it into the present for the future without destroying the essence of the song. What an amazing recording it is and a standout. I think Mr. Davis would approve, most likely thinking why didn't he do that arrangement.


Kelly Z what a revelation you are. WOW, wow, wow! What a voice and what you can do with it is absolutely amazing. You must be a time traveler as you surely have come directly from the sixties with a feel for the music you presented on this album. You just don't just look at a list of songs from the 60's and 70's and say okay l'll sing those. It takes a inner understanding of the times and a voice to match to do so. You have both in abundance. You should be on everybody's lips what with your obvious talents. Each and every track had me gob smacked with your interpretations as you just get better and better with each and every song. As soon as l found my favorite l found a new one and that had me going back and replaying the album to make up my mind but after that many listens l decided "shoot they're all my favorite" and that's that. Congratulations Kelly Z to you, your band and all of the production crew as this is one seriously good album and one l predict should get you some serious airplay. Albums this good rarely come along and when they do it certainly makes this old curmudgeon feel very good indeed.

Peter Merrett, PBS106.7, Melbourne, Australia