Dana Fuchs

Love to Beg

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Dana Fuchs is a throwback to another time: the late '60s and early '70s, when blues-based shouters like Janis Joplin and Robert Plant (in a somewhat different style) were capturing the attention of a generation. Her debt to Joplin is unapologetic -- she starred in the off-Broadway musical Love, Janis -- and at times maybe a bit too slavish. That's not to say that she brings no other elements to her interpretation of blues and soul-rock styles, only that there are moments on Love to Beg when one might be forgiven for wondering why one would listen to Fuchs when Joplin recordings are still so easily available. At other moments, clear answers to that question present themselves immediately: Fuchs and her band do freight-train blues-rock as well as just about anyone alive (note in particular the unstoppable "Nothing's What I Cry For," which lacks only a melody, and "Faster Than We Can"), and can even create passable and thoroughly enjoyable variants on gospel rock (the wonderful "Summersong") and tender-but-gritty waltzes ("Keepsake," "Keep on Rollin'"). When she covers Otis Redding ("I've Been Loving You Too Long") she does it convincingly; when she simply rocks out ("Drive") she does it more convincingly still. When she reaches for high notes she regularly falls just a bit short, which is too bad -- passion counts for a lot, but pitch matters too. Overall, though, this is an impressive effort.

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