- Line-up: Rita Coolidge
- Location: Boisdale, Canary Wharf
- Date: 15th May, 2018
- Review By: Gary Smith (LCM)
- Website: http://www.ritacoolidge.com/
With an excellent new album 'Safe In The Arms Of Time' released on May 4th multi Grammy winning singer-songwriter Rita Coolidge started her four date London residency at Boisdale among the gleaming glass and steel skyscrapers of London's financial district Canary Wharf.
Rita's latest album is the first new material in 25 years. It was recorded, produced and mixed by multi-Grammy-winner Ross Hogarth, with initial tracking sessions taking place at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, where Rita has recorded all her solo projects since 1971.
The evening began with her drummer Lynn Coulter introducing Rita, describing her vocals as a mix of honey and Tennessee whiskey. Dressed in electric blue satin Rita took to the stage beginning with her hit single 'Late Again'. The song was written by Kris Kristofferson and released by Rita's on her 'It's Only Love' album in 1975.
Next up was a track from the new album, the rocky and upbeat 'Doing Fine without You'. Rita said It was the first song written for the new album by CSNY's Graham Nash. Rita then told the story of how the next song 'Superstar' was inspired by watching female fans looking admiring at Eric Clapton and imagining the fantasies that they were thinking about. In was written in England in 1969 on the 'Delaney & Bonnie' tour. Eric was the guitar player and Rita was performing backing vocals. The song was later covered by The Carpenters.
Rita has worked with the cream of musicians over the years both old and new and the next song from the new album 'Satisfy' was written by David Grisholm & the multi-award winning Chris Stapleton. Another excellent co-writer and collaborator on the album was the multi Grammy award winning singer-songwriter Keb' Mo'. Rita and Keb wrote two songs together, the album's first single the very catchy 'Walking On Water' and 'Make It All Night'.
Now time for a duet as drummer Lynn Coulter joined Rita on 'Loving Arms' taken from Kris and Rita's 1973 album 'Full Moon'. It was written by singer-songwriter Tom Jans. Described by Rita as a ballad about falling in love 'We're All Alone' was a superb cover of a Boz Scaggs written classic with it's beautiful refrain 'Close The Window, Calm The Light'
The tempo rose for an incredible version of 'Born Under A Bad Sign' with guitarist and musical director John McDuffie adding a fantastic solo. This timeless blues staple was written and performed originally by Albert King who first recorded it in 1967. Next with it's finger snapping was a slow and sultry version of Peggy Lee's famous classic 'Fever', accompanied by some great double bass by Randy Landas.
We were treated to a fantasic medley of 'The Way You Do The Things You Do', a 1964 hit single by the Temptations for the Barry Gordy 'Motown' label. Written by Miracles members Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers and another personal favourite 'How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You' written by the great James Taylor. Time for one last song from the new album, the gentle and reflective piano ballad written by Tom Douglas 'Van Gogh'.
What better way to close the main set than a great cover of the toe-tapping 'Your Love Keeping Lifting Me) Higher & Higher' a huge hit No,1 for Jackie Wilson.
Leaving the stage with the audience still wanting more. Rita and the band returned for their two song encore. Introducing her band, she let them all have their solos in the spotlight, before ending the show with what Rita jokingly referred to as music for divorces 'I’d Rather Leave While I’m In Love' followed by the more up-tempo 'Lover Please' which she recorded with ex-husband Kris Kristofferson.
Backed by a world class four piece Rita was the dazzling perfect host. Nicknamed the Delta Lady by Joe Cocker, Rita's wonderful set enchanted the audience. It was a perfect fusion of soul, jazz, blues and pop. This showcase of both old and new material proved that this very talented singer-songwriter has lost none of her previous high quality, sparkle and charisma.