Florence Rawlings - A Fool in Love
With a deep Motown vibe, Florence Rawlings show-stopping debut is a heady mix of quality covers and original tracks. Discovered and signed by Mike Batt when she was just 13, Florence didn't jump straight into making her album and instead wisely spent her teens finishing her education and perfecting her musical talents. Fast-forward to 2009 and we finally get to see the fruits of the last seven years in an ambitious and exciting album that belies her tender years.
Opening with a cover of Bobby Blue Bland's seminal Wouldn't Treat A Dog (the way you treated me) the singer signals her intentions to revive classic American blues and not only performs a flawless rendition, she really makes the song her own. The same can be said for all of the covers on the album with particular highlights in her take on Gladys Knight's Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me and album title track A Fool In Love, previously - and appropriately - Tina and Ike Turner's debut single.
Accompanying the covers are a number of original tracks written by Mike Batt and while they lack the weight and longevity of the true classics, here they are great showcases for Florence's voice. Album-closer, Love is a Battlefield, is probably the strongest of the original compositions, being a deep ballad which pushes Rawling's voice to breaking point, but not once does she falter.
Florence Rawlings has been compared to Dramatico label-mate Katie Melua, but there is no comparison. Rawlings is by far the most vocally talented of the two singers and where Melua melds banality with irritation, Rawlings turns her hand to reinvigorating true, lost classics in a way that few would be able to even attempt. A Fool in Love has been seven years in the making and for a debut, this album deserves to be a hit. Rawlings has a talent that will only improve with age and album number two will almost certainly be something special. I can't wait!