CD review: Imelda May "More Mayhem"
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Imelda May “More Mayhem” (Decca)
Just how cool is Imelda May? With her 2011 album “Mayhem,” the rockabilly revivalist actually managed to restore Soft Cell’s overplayed, obnoxiously synthed-out new wave cover of “Tainted Love,” one of the most repellent earworms of the 1980s, to the former glory of Gloria Jones’ soulful little-heard 1965 original version.
With the new souped-up edition of her album, appropriately titled “More Mayhem,” May dares to cover the Patsy Cline classic “Walking After Midnight,” and the vocal powerhouse’s jaunty, respectable cover does right by the all-time Queen of Country Music.
Since unleashing her “Mayhem,” May, 38, has shared the stage with Oklahoma’s own rockabilly royal Wanda Jackson in New York’s Central Park, toured with guitar legend Jeff Beck (with whom she performed a stunning Les Paul tribute at the 2010 Grammys) and even sung for President Obama. Clearly, Decca wants to keep the Irish singer-songwriter’s momentum rolling, and “More Mayhem” is a smart, raucous step toward that worthy goal.
May co-wrote 13 of the 15 original tracks on “Mayhem,” which effectively showcased her versatility, mixing rockabilly barnburners like the title track and closer “Johnny Got a Boom Boom” with the blues ode “Too Sad to Cry,” the old-school country hymn “Proud and Humble,” the seductive jazz come-on “All for You,” the charming but macabre big-band number “Inside Out” and even the timeless-sounding “Kentish Town Waltz.”
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