Personnel: Michael Toles (guitar); Yennifer Correia, Jessie Munson (violin); Beth Luscombe (viola); Jonathan Kirkscey (cello); Lannie McMillan (saxophone); Jim Spake (tenor saxophone); Kirk Smothers (baritone saxophone); Marc Franklin (trumpet); Archie Turner (keyboards); Theron Feemster (programming); Stefanie Bolton (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Vance Powell .
Recording information: Royal Studios, Memphis, TN; Thw Village Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographer: Myriam Santos.
Memphis Rock and Soul -- meaning the kind of integrated, funky, swampy R&B-rock hybrid cranked out of Memphis' American Sound Studio in the late '60s, music that often saw release on the Stax imprint -- is certainly well within the wheelhouse of Melissa Etheridge, who has emphasized the bluesy, soulful undercurrent in her voice since her eponymous 1988 debut. Arriving nearly 30 years after that album, Memphis Rock and Soul -- released on a revived Stax by Concord Records -- is faithful and loving to the original versions, preserving the arrangements but sometimes allowing the band to vamp a bit, as on Sam & Dave's "Hold on, I'm Coming." Usually, Etheridge stays with tried-and-true songs, finding space for both Otis Redding and Albert King, but she slides a couple of left-field choices into the mix, such as William Bell's "Wait a Minute." If Etheridge doesn't necessarily rework these songs, these straightforward interpretations illustrate why the catalog endures and her affection for both the songs and sound of Southern soul in the '60s is evident. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine