11 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Known for nearly upstaging Mick Jagger with her astounding backing vocal performance on the Stones’ 1969 recording of “Gimme Shelter,” Merry Clayton is the owner of a voice to be reckoned with. Here she opens her eponymous third studio album with a goose-bump-raising cover of Neil Young’s “Southern Man,” giving his tune the much-needed authenticity of an African- American perspective while injecting it with huge doses of danceable soul-funk to make this version definitive. “Walk On In” is less feverish yet equally grooving, but it was her sultry take on Carole King’s jazzy R&B ballad “After All This Time” that yielded a hit. She even one-ups Donny Hathaway on an incredibly impassioned version of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You.” Clayton continues to spin other people’s tunes into her own gold by stripping James Taylor’s “Steamroller” of its sardonic blues-rock mockery with a commanding strut and her bold soul-sister voice. Bookending with the flute-groove of “Whatever” proves to be an amazingly powerful exit strategy.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Known for nearly upstaging Mick Jagger with her astounding backing vocal performance on the Stones’ 1969 recording of “Gimme Shelter,” Merry Clayton is the owner of a voice to be reckoned with. Here she opens her eponymous third studio album with a goose-bump-raising cover of Neil Young’s “Southern Man,” giving his tune the much-needed authenticity of an African- American perspective while injecting it with huge doses of danceable soul-funk to make this version definitive. “Walk On In” is less feverish yet equally grooving, but it was her sultry take on Carole King’s jazzy R&B ballad “After All This Time” that yielded a hit. She even one-ups Donny Hathaway on an incredibly impassioned version of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You.” Clayton continues to spin other people’s tunes into her own gold by stripping James Taylor’s “Steamroller” of its sardonic blues-rock mockery with a commanding strut and her bold soul-sister voice. Bookending with the flute-groove of “Whatever” proves to be an amazingly powerful exit strategy.

TITLE TIME

More By Merry Clayton

You May Also Like