Ursula Ricks review…November 16, 2013…

URSULA RICKS

MY STREET

SEVERN RECORDS  CD 0061

TOBACCO ROAD–SWEET TENDERNESS–MARY JANE–MY STREET–DUE–RIGHT NOW–THE NEW TREND–MAKE ME BLUE–JUST A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE–WHAT YOU JUDGE

As a youngster, Ursula Ricks found her love of music thru the movies.  The soundtracks of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel,” as well as those from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and even Shirley Temple had a profound impact upon her.  She fell in love with the blues after hearing her mother sing in the famly’s Baltimore home, and has been singing up and down the East Coast for some twenty years.  Severn Records has just released her debut, “My Street,” featuring eight originals and two covers, and, as one listens, one can hear a gritty edge in her vocal and writing style.  The backing crew, the Severn house band, cuts a decidedly-soulful strut in playing behind Ursula, and a few cuts feature intricate horn and string arrangements.

Ursula writes with a deep passion for topical subjects and the problems plaguing today’s society.  The title cut is a prime example.  Altho her ancestral home saw the growth of four generations, the continuing drug deals, cuttings, and shootings make her feel that it’s time to “get away from My Street.”  It seems as if corruption and apathy are “The New Trend” in today’s world, and Ursula closes the set with an important lesson for us all, “What You Judge will judge you,” and has excellent guitar from Johnny Moeller.

She can turn the heat up on a love song, too.  The horns and strings punch up the ode to a memorable affair in “Sweet Tenderness,” then, with “Make Me Blue,” she finds it hard to say goodbye.

We had two favorites, too.  A brooding, Curtis Mayfield-inspired piece has Ursula using the power of the blues to achieve her “Due.”  And, the set-opener is a stone-cold slab of swampy funk, as she sings of “the chitlin’ circuit workin’my heart, and Tobacco Road callin’ me.”  The groove is amped up considerably via Johnny Moeller’s guitar and killer harp from Kim Wilson.

Altho she has had no formal training, Ursula Ricks has a voice you will not forget after you hear her.  Add in some cool, steet-savvy lyrics and “My Street” serves as an excellent debut!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

 

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