Carleen Anderson-Alberta's GrandDaughter

If you dig into the soul music scene of United Kingdom, you cannot miss Carleen Anderson. To help you recap her career, she was the lead vocalist of the acid jazz group, The Young Disciple. This group released a classic soul funk album titled "The road to freedom" in the late 80s. Later then, she launch a solo career in 1994. Her debut album titled "True Spirit" established Carleen as one of the most distinguished female singers/songwriters in the UK. The "True Spirit" album spun several hit singles, notably "Nervous Breakdown", "Mama Said" and my personal favorite "Let it last". While in 1998, she released her second highly anticipated album "Blessed Burden". Despite the fact that "Bless Burden" was one of her most ambitious projects to-date, this album fell short of expectation in terms of sales and chart success. Since then, Carleen has remained sort of low profile from the music industry and occasionally appeared as guest vocalist in some other jazz soul funk albums. Until recently, I received a demo CD from my friend, Switzerland's Soul Brother, Mike Kressbach.

I am extremely pleased to know that Carleen Anderson is back with her third solo album titled "Alberta's GrandDaughter". Information wise, this album is co-produced with Ben Castle. It is originally planned to released in September 2002 in the UK but, up to now, it is still not yet released commercially. I have listened to her new album several times and I can tell you that this album, if released internationally, will certainly be an instant classic for her. Carleen is unpredictable. She is not your average female soul singer. She is unique with her own style and ready to experimental her creativity in different genres of music. The following is my track to track review:

1. Love's Remedy 2. Dance In The Rain
The album opens with a strange song, in my opinion. Why do I call it Strange? It's because when I first heard the melody, I was trying to categorize the song to whether soul, jazz, or funk it is belonged. Anyway, I fail to do so because I forget Carleen's music, or as an inspiring artists, cannot be simply and unfairly classified. So I listen to it with an open heart and I do find out that it is indeed a very decent song. I really like this song. It begins with some quiet background which helps listeners clearly catch the phrasing and words of Carleen's interpretation of human relationship and the hope for peace. Then the melody slowly gets more intense and finally reach to orgasm in which she soars for the spirit to dance in the rain. Carleen's back. Indeed she is!
3. The Best You 4. Night Fall
Carleen tries something new here in this song. You can hear that she wants to develop the sort of jazzy swing feeling. It is an uplifting and comforting song. No one can do your best like you!

This is a bluesy song. Carleen's voice really shines out in this track. You can hear the range of her voice and how incredible it is.
5. Apparently Nothin' 6. Desiderata Trilogy
As a fan of Carleen, you should know that this is the first international hit from The Young Disciple. It brings back my memories of the UK R&B/Soul/Funk scenes. It is sort of sad to know that the current UK soul scene is not as strong as it was before in terms of quality and commercial success. Carleen is one of a few artists who manages to survive and help retaining the originality of UK soul. To me, this song carries a special feeling and as always, this song is timeless. I do not know the meaning of "Desiderata". Nevertheless, musically, this is another "creative" song by Carleen. This is the longest track of the album running over 8 minutes. But certainly it should be the most imaginative song I've ever heard from Carleen. To simplify my description, Carleen certainly has "jazz" in her mind.
7. Don't Look Back In Anger 8. When The Light Shines
With piano as the only background instrument, Carleen excels in this beautiful melancholic ballad. Personally, I really like this track because of the sentimental atmosphere Carleen creates. This is an uplifting song. It has a little bit of gospel with a touch of jazz feel in it.

9. Cage Street Memorial

10. Pegasus
Quiet storm jazz is what I describe this song. Another beautiful creative contemporary jazz song. Similar to the opening song, "Love's Remedy", it is an experimental song in which you have to listen a few times (minimum twice at least) to get into the rhythm of her music and her messages she wants to convey to her listeners.
11. Famous Patience 12. There's A Song
This is supposedly the first single to be come out from the album. It reminds of her version of "Maybe I'm amazed" from her second album. Even though it is a typical rock ballad, Carleen's voice can do no wrong here. An outro that clearly displays Carleen's soulful voice. I suppose this is her song expressing her gratitude to God and so it should remain one of the most personal songs from her. Nevertheless, it is also my least favorite from the album.


True Spirit by Mike Kressbach

Carleen Anderson Official Website