The unlikely pairing of Flo Morrissey and Matthew E White has produced Gentlewoman, Ruby Man, one of our favourite cover albums in recent memory. Wyndham Wallace reviews…

[Glassnote]

 

London’s Flo Morrissey and Richmond, Virginia’s Matthew E White first performed together at a Lee Hazlewood tribute show. Now, 18 months later, their recorded debut together offers no Hazlewood but 10 other covers that showcase their unlikely chemistry.

Master producer White, 12 years Morrissey’s senior, sings in a whisper, as though wary of waking his 22-year-old flower child companion, who sounds so pure one suspects that she’s never even seen a PG-rated film. But their voices work surprisingly well together.

Their take on Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne is a little lacklustre and it’s hard to eclipse the Velvet Underground’s original, sleepy-eyed Sunday Morning, but Little Wings’ Look At What The Light Did Now comes to life in their hands, the acoustic original given a dramatic, joyous, R&B makeover, and they rein in the sentimentality of James Blake’s The Colour In Anything, letting Morrissey’s voice soar.

A shot at Grease is also unexpectedly successful, its sensuous pace shifting the action from the club to the bedroom, while Looking For You stays largely true to Nino Ferrer’s original, underlining the modesty of this endearing pairing.

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