One of the sheer delights of Lee’s new album, Gypsy Soul, which is due out in February, is the incredible amount of diversity contained within it. During the recording process, songs were rearranged, many discussions were had, and the album ended up being taken in some directions which probably were not in anyone’s minds at the beginning of the process. Finally Going My Way sees Lee in a country soul style that is laid-back, allowing her to show some of her power and emotion, with a voice which cracks at times, and is gentle and mellow at others. It commences with all the focus on her voice, with dated organ and repeated piano chords behind, and a guitar strike on the beat. It already feels as if it has come from the deep South, and when the wonderful harmony female vocals come in the song is lifted to another level.
There is room for Chris Ward to show some of his note bending skills in the second verse as he is brought more to the fore as Lee lifts the power and passion. After the second chorus he provides a delicate solo which is totally in keeping with the song, while the underlying swing beat is just right, and the introduction of a honky tonk piano lifts the accompaniment yet again. The arrangement is delicate yet when one pays close attention there is the realisation it is also incredibly complex, yet always with Lee at front and centre. There is an emotional connection with the music, with the listener being brought into Lee’s story.
That story when portrayed in a visual format is rather unusual, in that Lee is having a party with some armless mannequins, as well as walking through a barn which is full of them. I was pleased to see red wine make an entrance, along with a Lee-sized glass, as we both enjoy our vino, but I was devastated when I saw her pour it over the head of the mannequin (I can imagine the conversation, “You want me to do what? We do have another bottle though, don’t we?”). It is one of those videos where one can make as much of it as one wants to, deeply analyse what is going on, or just go with the flow, rather like Lee’s songs. I have loved Lee’s music for years, have written press releases for her, drunk wine with her, yet if I felt this was not up to par, I am confident enough in our friendship to say just that. Instead, I will just say the truth, this is an absolute triumph.