Wednesday, 11 January 2017
Perhaps the closest parallel to Verdelle Smith would be Dionne Warwick: a soul singer by discipline but a dramatic pop singer by any other name. She cut two songs that were later covered by Nancy Sinatra and Scott Walker -- "In My Room" and "Tar and Cement," respectively -- and that gives a good idea of the symphonic melodrama that lies at the core of her work. This is not meek music. It's big, sweeping and grand, with mini pop symphonies that showcased her range and power. Smith's appeal lies in how she never quite belonged in either the pop-soul world or in Hollywood pop. She fell through the cracks, a powerful soul singer but what's best about Smith is how she never belonged to any world, how she was soulful without being gritty, overblown without being sticky.