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Graham Clark
Music Features Writer
@Maxximum23Clark
1:02 AM 6th April 2024
arts
Review

Albums: Texas And Spooner Oldham – The Muscle Shoals Sessions

 
Texas And Spooner Oldham – The Muscle Shoals Sessions

Halo; Mr Haze; Summer Son; Say What You Want; Keep On Talking; The Conversation; In Demand; Would I Lie To You; Let’s Work It Out; Black Eyed Boy; Everyday Now; I Don’t Want a Lover; In Our Lifetime; Save The Last Dance

PIAS LL224


Texas, the band led by Sharleen Spiteri, has reimagined all their big hits on this new album with Spooner Oldham. Inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, Oldham has left his mark on soul classics such as When a Man Loves a Woman and Mustang Sally, either as a songwriter, producer, or session musician. Besides appearing on Aretha Franklin records, he co-wrote soul classics like I’m Your Puppet, Cry Like a Baby, and Sweet Inspirations.

Texas arrived on the music scene in 1989 with their introductory hit I Don’t Want a Lover and went on to produce ten studio albums besides performing sell-out tours, including a triumphant performance at the Glastonbury Festival last year.

This new album sees all the big Texas hits stripped back, recorded at the Fame Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. In this new format, the songs sound fragile with only limited backing, with the delicate piano lines of Spooner Oldham and the soulful voice of Sharleen Spiteri proving that the songs still stand up. The starkness and introverted format contrast well with the often-outspoken Spiteri, though her honesty and that of the song’s shine through.

Two interesting covers—Would I Lie To You (Charles and Eddie) and Save The Last Dance For Me (The Drifters)—come as surprises as they are not songs that you would associate with Texas, though in this new format they sound perfectly placed.

Rather than a stopgap to the next Texas album, these recordings mark a new path in the band's career, which opens the opportunity to perform the tracks in their new guise when the band goes on tour in the autumn.

Say What You Want, Keep On Talking, and In Our Lifetime sound not too different from the original versions, unlike Black Eyed Boy and The Conversation, which are two tracks that sound better than the original versions.

With the album being recorded live, the mood is one that feels natural and uncontrived, allowing the listener to hear the clarity in the lyrics and hopefully enjoy this new take on some old favourites.