I originally wrote this review for my own blog. I bought the album as a gesture of solidarity after it was disqualified from The Guardian’s Readers Album of the Year poll for reasons that are about as convincing as the official reasons for the closure of our beloved column. So I thought it was appropriate to repost it here.
As any fan of the bands regularly covered on this site ought to know, there is a vast amount of excellent music that doesn’t have the benefit of major label publicity campaigns, and is the wrong genres to be covered by the fashionable media. Which means that many great records fly completely under the radar of everyone who doesn’t follow their particular scene. Welsh singer-songwriter Jodie Marie is a typical example.
Trouble in Mind an immensely varied record, going from stripped-down intimate acoustic songs through guitar and organ led blues-rock to big band numbers featuring horn sections and gospel choirs. The sequencing is interesting, shifting between different moods across different parts of the album, beginning with several rootsy blues numbers, the middle of the album dominated by ballads, finishing with 70s-style rock numbers. It’s an unusual way of arranging an album, but the musical journey it takes you on actually works extremely well.
As a singer, Jodie Marie is a real talent, alternatively soulful and gutsy depending on the song. The album emphasises that; neither the horn arrangements nor Jimmy Brewer’s tastefully restrained lead guitar overwhelm the vocals.
With an LP-length running time of under forty minutes there’s no room for any filler, but there are plenty of highlights. There’s the funky lead single “Only One I’m Thinking Of”. The solo piano ballad “Reason to Believe” is a thing of beauty, and shows she is an accomplished pianist as well as a singer. Another standout is “For Your Love”, a slow-burning blues number featuring some excellent guitar from Daniel John Montagu Smith. The ballad “Everyone Makes Mistakes” and the rockier album closer “Later Than You Think”, both driven by Jodie’s electric piano, recall something of the feel of David Coverdale’s mid-70s album “Northwinds”, though of course the vocal style is quite different.
Trouble in Mind is precixely the sort of record which really deserves a far wider audience. It’s highly recommended for anyone who is more interested in great music by great musicians than contemporary fads and fashions.