Reviewed by Taf Rock for MPM
Pictures courtesy of Haluk Gurer
Elles Bailey never seems to sit down or stand still for a second. Throughout the summer (if that’s what you can call the soggiest of seasons we have just endured) Elles and her band have constantly criss crossed the country and the continent playing at umpteen festivals in a relentless quest to deliver her outstanding music to the people.
Indeed as I write this Elles is just about to step onstage and headline one of the UK’s biggest blues festivals at Colne in Lancashire. And why not when you’ve released one of the finest albums of the year in 2022 with ‘Shining In The Half Light’.
Earlier this year Elles delivered an expanded version of this album adding in amongst others a couple of cover songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Martyn. Elles loves a good cover version and more than does justice to the original when she chooses a song to receive the unique Elles Bailey lick of paint.
The songs aren’t transformed beyond all recognition but enhanced and pay tribute to the qualities of the original recordings. It’s a true honour and recognition of a quality original song to be chosen to be covered by Elles who is always keen to promote both young upcoming bands or as with this release classic music from the past.
Written by Delaney Bramlett and Carl Radle but first recorded by Jim Ford in 1969 the American husband/wife duo of Delaney & Bonnie recorded it as part of their 1971 album Motel Shot (the version Elles cover is based on).
Recorded in one slightly wild take Elles Bailey’s version maintains the exciting character of that 1971 release, with keyboards playing a major part of the release. Indeed the wonderful Hammond sound of Jonny Henderson introduces the song before the distinctive voice of Elles enters the fray ‘hey listen mister I need a place to stay the night’. If Elles is singing I’m sure gonna listen intently. ‘A small hotel will do just fine… I’m only passing through…’. Quite appropriate almost autobiographical words given the amount of travelling Elles has recently undertaken.
Elles openly admits to improvising the second verse as the original lyrics proved impossible to find despite much searching. She settles on ‘Been a long time since I’ve had enough to eat, can you spare me a dollar now’. ‘I’ve walked for miles and miles… I need to soothe my tired feet.’ Big thumbs up from me Elles … sounds perfect.
Joe Wilkins outstanding guitar intertwines with Jonny’s keyboards during the chorus creating a real feelgood atmosphere to the song enhanced by the additional backing vocals. Towards the end of the song Joe indulges with a brief lead break before the keyboards join back in for a beautiful singalong outro with the whole band joining in having a ball. Another winner that’s sure to prove popular as it’s slipped into the live set alongside Elles’ growing repertoire of quality originals.
Check it out. Available now on all digital platforms