Album review: SARI SCHORR – Live In Europe

Pete Feenstra chatted to Sari Schorr for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio about the live album.  First broadcast 12 April 2020.

Sari Schorr - Live In Europe

Manhaton Records [Release date 06.03.20]

Sari Schorr’s ‘Live In Europe’ celebrates the raw passion, deep emotion and improvisational qualities of one of the finest blues-rock singers of our era.

‘Live In Europe’ is actually a composite of 3 separate nights on her 2019 tour which almost feels like an audio diary entry of a tour band.

It confirms that Sari consistently belts out levels of intensity that can only come from the impressive depths of her own song writing and the connection she makes with her audience night after night.

All that said, ‘Live In Europe’ isn’t quite the definitive statement of her craft, though it comes close.  It’s too rough round the edges for that, from faux studio fades on the opening two tracks which rob us of the connection between artists and crowd, to an overall scissors and paste feel.

On top of that, one of her very best songs ‘King Of Rock and Roll’ is relegated to unplugged status as one of  2 bonus tracks, albeit it’s still superbly sung and played.

If live albums without any new material continue to beg the question, does the performance bring any new emotional nuance or live excitement not to be found on the studio offerings, then this album proudly confirms that to be the case.

In an age of devalued albums and digitalized accessibility, the live album has to do more to capture the attention of an already weary musical consumer.

Happily Sari’s sheer dynamism, gusto and her willingness to teeter on the brink of a song and leap into the void while being backed by a superb road tested band, gives this album sundry reasons to buy it.

From the booming opening of ‘New Revolution’ – which pairs idealistic lyrics with sheer rock and roll drive – through the powerhouse ‘Ain’t Got No Money’ – to the rip roaring autobiographical stomp of ‘Valentina’, we’re drawn into the oeuvre of a vocalist who sounds like she’s been waiting all her life for this moment to make her mark.

7 songs from ‘Never Say Never’ album and 3 from the ‘Force Of Nature’ debut album, suggest she’s found a working equilibrium between her song writing prowess – she co-writes with Henning Gehrke – and a band who counterweight power and subtlety within the parameters of her heartfelt material

Such is the impact of her own songs that when she covers ‘Black Betty’ she works that extra bit harder on her vocal to hit an incredible mid-number note, followed by a pregnant pause which serves to amplify the connection with her audience.

The big hook of ‘Damn the Reason’ also gives her plenty of scope to soar and impress everyone with her range, but just like a tasteful guitarist she never over sings preferring to build things up and use her full register to get inside the song.

‘Live In Europe’ also gives us the full gamut of  her stylistic breadth, from the afore mentioned big rock blues outings to the more restrained radio friendly balladry of ‘Turn The Radio On’, or the AOR soft rock of ‘Back To LA’, both of which have enough of a commercial undertow to linger in the mind.

But it’s on songs such the sweeping ‘Thank You’ that she really makes an impact, as a thunderous arrangement underpinned by Bob Fridzema’s organ and topped by Ash Wilson wah-wah break amplifies the edgy dichotomous lyrics.

The band is consistently good throughout, with special guest Steve Watts adding bone- crunching organ over Mat Beable’s pulsing bass line and Roy Martin’s metronomic drum pattern, on a number that morphs into a full blown funky work out.

The band stretches out exuberantly and Sari attacks the song full throttle, bringing out the best possible collective performance.

And it’s at moments like this when you really do feel as if you are there at a show listening to one of the most impressive rock blues bands on the circuit, fronted by one hell of a singer. Job done. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra

The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 21 November. Next session 12 December. The video above was a Halloween Special, streamed 31 October.

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 31 October 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 2 November 2021.

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