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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Donna Hopkins 2003 Free To Go

Genre: Blues
Rate: 320 kbps CBR / 44100
Time: 00:59:15
Size: 135,54 MB

United States

review by Hal Horowitz

The debut from Georgia (by way of Alabama) singer/songwriter/guitarist Donna Hopkins is a long-awaited effort from an artist well-known for her weekly live gigs in and around her Atlanta home base. Blues-rockers who read liner notes closely will recognize her name from two vocal contributions to Tinsley Ellis' Hell or High Water 2002 release. But even Hopkins' fans would probably not expect her first album to be so well-produced and conceived. Shifting away from the barroom blues she plays live, Free to Go is a polished yet gutsy stab at Southern blue-eyed soul of the Bonnie Bramlett variety. Hopkins' tough, burnished voice has a Susan Tedeschi edge to it, but her music is more swampy, atmospheric, and diverse.

The nearly seven-minute title track with its layered guitars, ominous organ, and oozing sensuality, is the album's centerpiece, but all of the tracks are as impressive. These songs aren't just blueprints, but fully formed, melodically mature statements about survival and growing up on the poor side of the tracks. Far from being overly sentimental, they exude a proud, hopeful assurance, helped immensely by Hopkins' natural, hardscrabble voice, and Bryan Cole's sympathetic production. Like The Band, these songs creep up on you, but the strong choruses, and Hopkins' emotionally charged presence, make them instantly likeable. With its bottleneck acoustic guitar and easily surging chorus, the album's first single, "Dirt Alabama Road," received some local airplay, and the Georgia Satellites/ Stonesy rocking of "U-Haul You Back" is a sure dancefloor filler. But it's the slower, less upbeat tunes, like "Everything Money Can't Buy," and the opening "Don't Ask Why," that are more impressive. The beautifully recorded sound is clean but not slick, especially for a low-budget, locally produced and distributed project. Even though the reprise of "Everything Money Can't Buy" -- sung as a duet with Hopkins' young daughter -- is a little cloying, the closing gospel-reggae of "I'll Fly Away" doesn't really mesh with the rest of the album, and the Hank Williams Sr. cover on which Hopkins' sings backup is extraneous, even as a bonus track.

Free to Go proves that, even on her first album, Donna Hopkins is already focused and experienced enough to go big time.


01 - Don't Ask Why 04:56

02 - Dirty Alabama Road 03:58

03 - Everything Money Can't Buy 03:26

04 - Free To Go 06:33

05 - Thunderin' In The Thickets 06:20

06 - U-Haul You Back 05:04

07 - Anything 04:01

08 - Little India 04:36

09 - I'll Fly Away 04:47

10 - Lone Gone Lonesome Blues 02:55

11 - Everything Money Can't Buy (With India) 03:30

12 - Little India 09:09

Donna Hopkins here:




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