Review: Dana Fuchs – Love To Beg

Posted on: Saturday, Aug 20, 2011

“Love To Beg”
(Ruf Records – RUF1167)

A recent visitor to our shores, the Florida-born, New York City-based singer and actress,  Dana Fuchs has recently released “Love To Beg”, her second album and first for Ruf Records, 12 original songs co-penned by Jon Diamond, who also handles guitar and harmonica here, and co-produced with Fuchs. The lady herself has a big, big voice well suited to this collection which touches on gospel, rock, blues, soul and more.

Apart from her and the afore-mentioned Jon Diamond, the core of the band also features Whynot Jansveld (bass) and Carter McLean (drums), with Glenn Patscha on Hammond B3 organ and Wurlitzer on several of the tracks. The opening title cut, “Love To Beg” rides on a crunch slide riff from Jon Diamond, giving it a somewhat Black Crowes type swagger . . . apparently the song was originally a ballad, that changed when the band hit the studio . . . a most engaging opener!

“Nothing’s What I Cry For” has a breakneck rocking feel, with the rhythm section driving the song along in a revved-up rockabilly mode with Diamond’s impressive guitar work to the fore. The mid-tempo “Golden Eyes” is a brooding hard rocker with a sultry vocal from Dana Fuchs in parts, combined with the gritty side on others. The pace takes a move into a different direction on the acoustic ballad “Keepsake”, a beautiful song indeed with heartache in the vocal, fleshed out by Glenn Patscha’s keyboards.

The country rocker “Set It On Fire” is all big guitars from Diamond, with nice chorus hook and is a standout here; “Faster Than We Can” is in the same mode, and rocks along, with the rhythm section of Whynot Jansveld and Carter McLean starring again, with blistering solo from Jon Diamond. The sweet “Keep On Rollin'” has a nice gospelly and soulful feel to it, with Fuchs crystal clear voice helped out by the background vocals of Jenny Douglas and Vivian Sessoms.

Elsewhere, “Drive” is a tasteful rocker; with another gem being the classic soul groove of the strutting “Summersong”, the keyboards of Patscha giving it a vintage feel; the album’s only cover is the late, great Otis Redding’s show stopper, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, given a faithful rendition here, compete with five-man horn section, led and arranged by Craig Dreyer. The heavy riffing “What You See” sees another direction swerve, as the whole ensemble rock hard.

As the lady herself says, “Overall, the album is really about love . . . all kinds of love. Angry love, jealous love, tortured love, brotherly love, sisterly love and self love. Hence the title ‘Love To Beg’ . . . all kinds of love illustrated by all kinds of songs!


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