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Lady – s/t (Truth & Soul)

Lady self-titled
29 March 2013

Consisting of a pair of singing veterans, Lady has no choice but to be good. Brit Terri Walker is a Mercury Music Prize nominee with four records out in her home country, while Atlantean Nicole Wray has a gold-selling single and guest spots with Missy Elliott, Kid Cudi and the Black Keys to her credit. (The duo formed in New York City.) But it’s more than just the ladies’ talent that makes this self-titled debut great – it’s the combination of song and sound, with the pair’s intertwined vocals interpreting a solid set of tunes in a traditional R&B production style. Like most everything else on Truth & Soul, the record sounds like it was recorded in the early 70s, with horn-laced, synth-free arrangements that nurture the melodies as much as the grooves. Walker and Wray feel like they’re in their element here, settling into the warm production like a dog onto a rumpled bed, singing from their hearts without trying to shatter microphone filaments. From the early 70s Motown shimmer of “Sweet Lady” and the black action funk of “Good Lovin” to the Hi Records pluck of “Get Ready” and the celebratory silk of “Waiting On You,” the duo hits every note with taste, precision and, well, soul. That latter is a quality with which Lady overflows, in fact, making its charms irresistible.