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July 2004

Blues & Jazz Scope

Fans of singer/guitarist/songwriter Peach have a real treat in store as her latest CD, PEACH - THE REAL THING, is her best by far. Inspired by Bobby Charles' classic version of I Must Be In a Good Place Now - a song about death which still manages to be beautiful and life-affirming - Peach and her close collaborator Marty Grebb decided to put together an album in that vein, one which would reflect "innocence unclouded by cynicism" at the same time that it celebrated "the lost art of optimism of American songwriting."

It's a pleasure to report just how successful the album is: a generous collection of songs that are upbeat with being sentimental, positive without being sappy. Most of the CD's thirteen selections are love songs, but it must be remembered that Peach is basically a blues singer with a sly, salty, down-home style. Consequently, even a love song by her has an edge, a bawdy undercurrent.

A case in point is her rendition of "Big Back Beat," a song she wrote with Grebb (who also produced and arranged the CD). It starts off as the lament of a jilted woman, only to swiftly become the defiant proclamation of someone who has found herself an even better lover, one who gives her "a ride like a Cadillac."

Grebb's arrangement of this tune is outstanding, ditto his work on the other cuts. He and Peach have also employed some superlative musicians on THE REAL THING, beginning with Taj Mahal, who not only sings a duet with her but provides guitar, harmonica and finger snaps. Sometimes featuring the trumpet (Lee Thornburg), other times slide guitars (Paul Barrere, Jon Woodhead), alto sax (Mindi Abair) or B-3 Hammond (Grebb again), Peach's latest CD is a giant feather in her cap - singing and songwriting at its best. (Visit bluesrockrecords.com or peachmusic.com)