C.M. Lord

C.M. Lord

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At times uplifting, sometimes soul-searching, singer/songwriter-arranger C.M. Lord's 1976 Capitol debut album boasts fine, mellow Southern soul ballads with a distinctly country stamp, as well as celebratory up-tempo numbers with jazzy nuances. She is every bit as talented as fellow soul sisters Margie Joseph and Cissy Houston. The funky opener, "Steal Your Love Away," wins with snazzy horns, organs, and gospel-esque background vocals, while the guitar-laden swinger "Hard Times-Rocky Road" swaggers with a ragtime sensibility and down-to-earth lyrics of economic distress. Lord's voice combines influences ranging from Janis Joplin to the Pointer Sisters, with a wide range of tones and notes that conjure both soul and folk. She's convincing as a blues-savvy wailer on "Moody Woman" and sweet and serene on "Steal Your Love Away." Unfortunately, the album received little attention, and it would be five years before Lord's follow-up, Flashback. That set is also impressive, but it's the wholly authentic arrangements and lively production of her debut album that show the singer's true diversity and strengths -- and make it an essential piece for any devoted '70s soul fan.

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