Susan Tedeschi

The Best of Susan Tedeschi: Episode One

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With a vibrant, versatile voice (sounding at times like an inspired mix of Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt) capable of adding subtle emotional shifts to slow-burning ballads or rocking out with the big boys, Susan Tedeschi burst on the scene at the close of the 1990s like a breath of fresh air in an era of prefab MTV teen idols. This well-sequenced sampler draws on her three albums for Tone Cool Records, 1998's Just Won't Burn (half the tracks here are from this impressive release), 2002's Wait for Me, and 2004's Live from Austin, TX. Highlights include great versions of two Tom Hambridge songs, the stinging "Rock Me Right" and the solid "It Hurt So Bad," and a bright, flowing take on Paul Pena's "Gonna Move." Like Raitt, Tedeschi works from a blues base, but she mixes in a strong sense of R&B and gospel, tackling songs as varied as Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" and Junior Wells' "Little by Little" here, and the two Austin City Limits numbers, Sly Stone's "You Can Make It if You Try" and Stevie Wonder's "Love's in Need of Love Today," show her firm footing in R&B. A nice introduction to this fine musician.

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