The Soul Truth

The Soul Truth

by Shemekia Copeland Shemekia Copeland


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Shemekia Copeland can sing the heck out of the blues, but she isn't necessarily a blues singer, and on The Soul Truth she makes what would seem like a sure-fire move into Memphis soul territory, even working with Stax great Steve Cropper, who produced the album and adds his trademark guitar economics to most of the tracks. Copeland is a strong, forceful singer, and with support from the Muscle Shoals horn section and guest spots from Felix Cavaliere, who plays organ on three songs, and Dobie Gray, who duets with Copeland on Bekka Bramlett's "Used," this set ought to be a barnburner. So why isn't it a better album? The problem really is a lack of distinctive songs, with too much of the set suffering from generic lyrics and melodies. Most of the material was written or co-written by Copeland's longtime mentor John Hahn, who has contributed heavily to all of her albums (even producing the first one), and his songs this time out seem tired and clichéd, and while Copeland tries to inject them with some fire and spunk, they seem to mostly just sputter loudly, and worse, end up just exposing Copeland's bag of vocal tricks, as she tries everything to get them to lift off of the ground. It is telling that the best tracks here are built around outside material, with Copeland turning in her most emotionally nuanced vocals on the duet with Gray on "Used" (originally a country hit for Lorrie Morgan) and a cover of Eddie Hinton's "Something Heavy," while her take on Cropper's swampy "Honey Do That Voo-Doo" gives the song a wonderfully sassy veneer. Copeland has the talent and tools to be a major star, and the instinct to move in a soul direction is a good one, but she needs songs with real emotional substance, and there just aren't enough of those here. The Soul Truth isn't a bad album, but it certainly is a disappointing one, given the talent involved.

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Product Details

Release Date: 08/16/2005
Label: Alligator Records
UPC: 0014551490524
catalogNumber: 4905
Rank: 69716


  1. Breakin' Out
  2. Who Stole My Radio?
  3. Poor, Poor Excuse
  4. All About You
  5. Better Not Touch
  6. Strong Enough
  7. You Can't Have That
  8. Uptown Line
  9. Givin' Up You
  10. Used
  11. Honey Do That Voo-Doo
  12. Something Heavy

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Shemekia Copeland   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Steve Cropper   Guitar,Background Vocals,Electric Sitar,Soloist
Dobie Gray   Vocals
Chester Thompson   Drums
Muscle Shoals Horns   Horn
Bob Britt   Guitar,Slide Guitar,Soloist
Felix Cavaliere   Organ,Keyboards
Jim Horn   Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Bass Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Soloist
Chuck Leavell   Keyboards
Carl Marsh   Organ,Synthesizer
Steve Patrick   Trumpet
Tom Roady   Percussion,Shaker
Charles Rose   Trombone
Harvey Thompson   Tenor Saxophone
David Santo   Bass,Bass Guitar
Tom Hambridge   Background Vocals
Sam "Shake" Anderson   Bass,Bass Guitar
Lisa Cochran   Background Vocals
Mark Williams   Background Vocals
Regi Wooten   Guitar
John Billings   Bass,Bass Guitar
Reggie Wooten   Guitar
Eddie Gore   Piano
Steve Potts   Drums

Technical Credits

Steve Cropper   Producer,Audio Production
Jim Horn   Horn Arrangements
Joe Hudson   Horn Arrangements
V. Jeffrey Smith   Composer
Tom Hambridge   Composer
Michael Trossman   Logo

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