Justin Kantor - SOULTRACKS.COM (USA)
While a number of artists continue to add merit to their material these days by employing melodic and arrangement elements of 1960s and ‘70s soul, some of such efforts sound half-
From the outset, it’s clear that Shaw relates to the line between romance and heartache. On “Leave a Little Love,” she cautions, “If I’m just a toy you’re gonna play with/If I’m not the girl you’re gonna stay with/Then don’t take all my love, don’t let me give you all my love.” In keeping with that sentiment of protecting the insides, she asserts, “This ain’t no rehearsal, baby/You won’t get a second chance” on the subsequent “Never Been Hurt.” While there’s innate tenderness evident in her phrasing, there’s also an unmistakable knowing and truthfulness that comes across when she’s relaying such feelings.
Many of the nuggets found on Love, Life & Strings are steeped in the vibrant, symphonic tradition of the early ‘70s; but several moments also center around a distinctively atmospheric vibe that calls upon additional influences. Take, for example, the sultry and lush “That Thing You Do,” which strides along with cool guitar licks, bright horns, and yes, romantic strings set to a groove that would do the Brand New Heavies proud. In this slightly more contemporary vein, Shaw feels just as at home with a stylishly nuanced performance on both lead and background vox. Meanwhile, she goes directly to a time-
Shining with both the nostalgia of Motown and Philadelphia International in an impressively fresh fashion, the contemplative and effortlessly building “Don’t Promise Me Sunshine” is a highlight which perfectly exemplifies Shaw’s commitment to preserving the authenticity of soul with intuitive energy. As with the remaining gems featured on Love, Life & Strings, there’s a fluent, unforced chemistry between her and the band which sets the tune apart from many modern recordings striving for a similar feel. Equally impactful in this fashion, but at a festive pace that is destined to resonate on Northern Soul dance floors, is the sprightly “You Let Him Get Away.” Here, the shuffling drum work is interspersed with staccato horn jabs that acutely color Shaw’s emboldened handling of the no–nonsense lyrics.
Love, Life & Strings is an ideal addition to the collection of any fan of Northern Soul, classic soul with a symphonic core, or simply top-
Sharon Davis- SOULMUSIC.COM
This much awaited release brings home soul music that’s influenced our lives and our loves. Against this American backdrop, Diane Shaw throws her very heart into this CD with a voice that’s strong, pure, gutsy and mellow. The ease with which she soars and dips, simmers and explodes, whether as a soloist or supported by sympathetic support singers, is an absolute joy. Not only this, but the CD is British conceived and recorded, with not a computer in sight. Alongside composers like Merle Haggard, Bea Verdi and Larry Weiss for example, Diane co-
The fact that the singer and her husband Andy have involved the public from the word go with this project, makes the end result almost personal. That Diane took her involvement in the CD’s promotion that step further by either signing or including a personal note with all the music purchased, should be applauded because it proves her determination to give this stage in her career the biggest boost she can. It’s a place she’ll be in just the once, so pulling out all the stops was imperative. “These Tears Are Real” hits you head on, while “Don’t Promise Me Sunshine” is an absolute gem in construction and delivery.
Emotionally draining sums up “You Let Him Get Away”, leaving “I Go To Pieces” to wrap itself around you, particularly the string version. I so appreciate that getting here has been both physically and personally stressful for Diane and her family; how thoughts of ‘am I doing the right thing’ and ‘have I got it right?’ must have led to many sleepless nights and bitten down fingernails, but I have to say the lady and her musicians have cracked it. As she once said, this is an incredible journey for her and the fact that this is British recorded adds so much credence to the overall sound. Any insecure moments must, I’m sure, have been dispelled when hearing the results.
Diane has recorded before with limited effect, but with the valued experience gained from performing the northern club circuit, the weekenders with and without American acts, has provided a solid footing to launch herself as a serious soul singer of note which makes her a dangerous contender for her UK competitors. So, let’s get this party started!
SOUL BROTHER RECORDS customers
Paul Reed – May 25, 2015:
Diane Shaw is fantastic Live. I love every track on this CD. She is a Star.
Mark Coyle (verified owner) – June 9, 2015:
A stunning soul album combining excellent song writing, classic production values and a marvellous vocal performance. This is soul of the original vintage with the 60s style big city and 70s shimmering modern soul. Fans of Northern and Crossover soul will enjoy this immensely and be tempted to leave it on repeat. It is an achievement to create such a complete work especially since it was financed via social media. An album that I envisage should grow in acclaim and crossover to wider recognition with the right media support. An album to be celebrated.
Richard (verified owner) – August 13, 2015:
A friend of mine played this album to me, as it were, ‘blind’ and it knocked me out. The sound on the LP is. if anything, better than that on the CD, however there are 3 tracks missing (tracks 11 -13) most likely to accommodate the album on one LP in such clear sound, so buy both.
And what of the music? 5 stars do not justify it!! In fact it is the best new album I have heard in years and anyone remotely interested in the genre should have it on his/her shelf. Diane’s voice is simply glorious and the backing band one of the best I’ve heard in decades. Sadly it will not, I suspect, sell as many copies as it deserves given the British obsession with the mindless garbage and talentless trash churned out in programmes such as ‘The X-Factor’, ‘Britain’s (NOT) Got Talent’ or ‘The Voice’ and praised to the skies by sycophantic critics determined to get ‘on the right side of’ – well you know who. There’s not a poor track on the album so go out and beg, steal of borrow this album, just get it and LISTEN to it – over and again.
Andrew Knights (verified owner) – May 29, 2015:
Fantastic Album. Not a bad track. Can’t stop playing in the car.
Jonathan Buxton (verified owner) – July 7, 2015:
Had heard a lot about this album, and wow, to hear real musicians and strings these days is very rare, the quality of the production is amazing and Diane’s vocals are spot on, would high recommend this to all soul fans
Susan Day (verified owner) – June 17, 2015:
Great CD, long awaited and not disappointed. Diane puts so much feeling into each of the tracks which have a distinctive 60’s feel about them. I love it!
Diane – July 10, 2015:
Wonderful to have our very own UK homegrown soul singer. A true star. <3
Great album. More please.
Garry (verified owner) – July 22, 2015:
Fantastic soul album by our own Diane Shaw. 13 great tracks with not a duff one amongst them. Diane’s lovely vocals and her super band are combined with great string arrangements. I love it. Any soul fan will love it. Her version of Say a Little Prayer is stunning. Deserves much success.
Barrie (verified owner) – August 21, 2015:
Heard the opening track once on the radio, bought the CD on that experience. Brilliant album, this girl deserves to be recognised much more than she is. Now have tickets to see her live and can’t wait. Buy it and spread the word.
Andy Britten – September 8, 2015:
A modern take on a classic soul sound. Brilliant album. A must for all soul music fans.
carole (verified owner) – December 10, 2015:
Went to see the stylistics in November, Diane Shaw came on before them. I was absolutely blown away with her voice and music. Would recomend any one to go and see her live. As for her cd its brill, fantastic. She,s the new Diane Ross.
Derik Barr (verified owner) – July 31, 2015:
Great LP some brilliant tunes….
Kay (verified owner) – August 24, 2015:
Love this CD a real Northern Soul sound
nycosmo – May 27, 2015:
DiShaw! This record is the cure for everything!!! Reduces road rage, increases creativity, boosts y’courage to do new and great things. Makes you move move move!! From my very first full listen, I’ve been saying that the new Love, Life and Strings – Diane Shaw album exceeds my highest expectations …and now the critics are joining in chorus: >> “A Future Classic”……”The perfect sound of yesterday”….. ..”Absolute quality, authentic , proper & real”….. (soulbrother) …<> Truth be told, is you could drop your ‘needle, laser or finger on the track pad’ on any track on offer here, and come up with a winner. ” (soulwalker)<<
'Album of the week' at SOUL SQUARE FRANCE
L’anglaise Diane Shaw présente depuis la fin de l’été 2015 son dernier opus : « Love,Life,Strings ». Un album salué par les critiques et qui vient récompenser, logiquement, plus de 20 de carrière.
Diane Shaw nous vient de Manchester en Angleterre. Le genre de ville où il est parfois préférable d’avoir une passion pour éviter l’ennui et la pluie made in England. Très tôt la britannique développe un goût prononcé pour la musique. Elle découvre la Soul américaine et tombe amoureuse de chanteuses comme les Supremes ou Aretha Franklin.
L’adolescence puis le début de l’âge adulte lui servent à faire ses premières scènes et à définir son style au fil des rencontres. Et ce style musical ou courant, c’est comme vous le souhaitez, c’est la Northern Soul.
Mais qu’est-ce que la Northern Soul me direz vous ? Et bien c’est tout simplement le style se rapprochant ,le plus, des fameuses années Motown/Atlantic Records période 60/70’s. Il est arrivé au début des années 80 dans le Nord de l’Angleterre à une époque où la Black Music évoluée vers des sonorités plus robotisées.
Pour résumer schématiquement la Northern Soul laisse, en priorité, place aux cuivres et aux mélodies rythmées.
Ce bref résumé historique vous servira à comprendre le nouvel opus de Diane Shaw. C’est classe, ça sent l’expérience, ça groove et surtout ça dégage énormément de sensualité.
Ce n’est pas pour rien qu’il est arrivé deux semaines de suite en tête des charts britanniques dans la catégorie Soul/R’n’B. Bref ! A écouter encore et encore.
Coups de cœur : Tout l’album mais encore plus : You Let Him Get Away, That Thing You Do
CLOUD JAZZ SPAIN:
Love, Life & Strings es el disco de presentación de la vocalista británica Diane Shaw
Diane Shaw es una vocalista británica, originaria de Manchester, con una larga trayectoria musical como corista para otros intérpretes. Después de 20 años colaborando junto a artistas como Tito Jackson, The Stylistics, Martha Reeves, Sister Sledge, George McCrae o Alexander O’Neal, Diane Shaw se decidió a publicar su primer trabajo como solista. En 2014 ya lanzó Leave a Little Love, como adelanto al disco que llegaría meses después, Love, Life & Strings. En él, Diane Shaw nos sorprende con una colección de canciones que bien podrían haber sido creadas en la era Motown o en el Sonido Filadelfia y guardadas en una cápsula del tiempo para ser dadas a conocer en el siglo XXI. Un ejemplo lo puedes comprobar en Leave a Little Love, un tema con aires a las composiciones de Burt Bacharach y que tiene este videoclip de presentación..
Love, Life & Strings, el primer disco de la vocalista británica Diane Shawprotagoniza el programa, en el que también repasamos novedades de artistas como Pieces Of A Dream, Cabo Frio, Babyface, Bob James & Nathan East y Djavan. En el bloque para el recuerdo, uno de los mejores trabajos de Steely dan y música del proyecto Studio Tan.
音楽レビュー Diane Shaw.
Bluer than the Bluest Blue.com
Charles Waring - SOUL&JAZZ&FUNK.COM
Such is its attention to detail –
It’s probably already a Modern Soul scene floor filler. By contrast, the brilliant, Motown-
‘Say A Little Prayer.’
The nostalgic, feel-
Great stuff –
Lois Wilson - Record Collector/ MOJO Magazine
“A contender for Debut Album of the Year, Diane Shaw’s Love, Life And Strings (Mecca Records) introduces the Manchester singer on a set of beautifully crafted ballads and dancers.
In the former camp, the effusive ‘Leave A Little Love’. Over delicious Motown styled horns and strings arranged by Bert Decoteaux and Andy Birkenshaw, Shaw’s sweet but strong vocal delivery, think Brenda Holloway, is truly intoxicating ”
Toby Walker - SOULWALKING.COM
Been a very lacklustre last 2 months, album-
Thankfully, as ever, the Sista’s are on call.
Diane Shaw’s album has been in the making for a while now. The initial single ‘Leave A Little Love’, has long been a Sixties favourite in this house. Lulu’s brilliant Blue-
refreshing to hear a record performed in it’s finest format. Made for all formats, with real musicians, and by a singer who gets right into the heart of the genre. The album is aptly, entitled ‘Life, Love and Strings’, and, I hope she doesn’t mind me drawing a comparison to the Ebonye Alleyne album from a few years back. Both sets epitomise the best of the Sixties and Seventies, whilst being delivered with ‘vocal kid gloves’ within the new millennium. The album showcases 14 tracks, a couple of which are mixes of the latest deejays ’track of choice’ from the set, namely ‘That Thing You Do’, which has echoes of the wonderful bass-
‘Mellow, Mellow, Right On’. Diane, herself, has a very personable vocal delivery, which lends itself to multiple harmonies beautifully. My favourite tracks on the album are, obviously, the Lulu cover, along with the exceptionally catchy ‘Never Been Hurt’, ‘Good Lovin’ Man’, and ‘Today, I Started Loving You’. Truth be told, is you could drop your ‘needle, laser or finger on the track pad’ on any track on offer here, and come up with a winner.
Diane is a seasoned campaigner on the U.K. Soul club circuit, filing herself, possibly, under the movie tag ‘20ft from Stardom’, touring with the likes of Martha Reeves, Brenda Holloway, Chris Clark, Tommy Hunt, Sidney Barnes & Geno Washington, Sister Sledge. George McCrae, Kirk Whalum & Peter White. With ‘Life, Love and Strings’, Diane has constructed one of the better albums in 2015, and it is sure to be in many Modern Soul Christmas stockings come December!
Laurence Prangell - SOUL BROTHER RECORDS
‘Love Life and Strings is an amazing debut album from experienced performer Diane Shaw which recalls the golden age of Soul from the late 60’s- early 70’s featuring real musicians and a string and horn section.
Some of the songs are self penned, others are new songs by vintage writers plus there are a few covers. ‘Leave a little love’ is a wonderful dramatic uptempo string laden song arranged by Bert DeCoteaux and Andy Birkenshaw, that could have been made 40+ years ago. ‘Never Been Hurt’ and ‘Today I started loving you’are great 70’s style Modern Soul dancers that really swings. ‘These tears are real’ and ‘No More Love to give’ are Philly style mid tempo ballads, ‘Good Lovin Man’ and ‘I Go To Pieces’ Northern Soul dancers and ‘Thing That you do’ a lovely stepper using ‘Mellow Mellow right on’rhythm.
This ambitous and optomistic album has that feel good factor and deserves to be one of the Soul albums of the year.
AMAZON customers - UK & US
By glenn58 on 19 July 2015
Format: MP3 Download
By Epsomfrog on 1 Nov. 2015
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
very strong album that covers everything from northern soul to accapella covers. to say this album is diverse is to do it an injustice. there are some very authentic sounding northern soul sounding tracks (leave a little love especially), never been hurt and good lovin man (which sounds a bit more motorcity type). deffinitely the strongest cut on the album is the (soon to be) modern soul gem That Thing You Do: there is a londown town remix but i think the album version is better. thee are some nice soul cuts too, these tears are real and especially today i started loving you. Gerri Grainger i go to pieces is given a rework, as is Aretha’s say a little prayer which is more an acapella. You Won’t Let Him Get Away sounds as if it could have come straight out of the Daptone stable. if this kinda floats your boat then the album is deffinitely worth buying. ignore That Thing You Do at your peril. Ketty
By D.H. on 21 Dec. 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
By A Reviewer on December 28, 2015
Format: MP3 Music
This sensational recording from Manchester (UK) based Diane Shaw — and a deep crew of real musicians — is deservedly! on the Top-30 2015 albums SoulTracks.com (“Boasting a beautifully commanding voice and inimitably heartfelt lyrics and melodies set to lushly orchestrated arrangements , the UK songstress’ debut solo album is a rare gem in the ADD-prone digital era.”) In a word: authentic!
By Phil (not) in Mågnoliá on July 31, 2015
Format: MP3 Music
I’m going to begin this review by repeating the introduction I wrote to my review to Diane Shaw’s earlier release (Jazz Nites), simply because it applies here just as well as it applied to that performance:
Well, this was a mystery to me, that somehow a singer of this quality has not received more attention until now. I find no CD’s listed here on Amazon (only some .mp3 tracks, such as this album here), no listing for her on Allmusic, and no wikipedia entry! How can this be?Then, with the help of some internet research, I begin to understand why. She has a very good website and is based in the UK. It provides a good bio and explains how she has performed for over 20 years supporting major artists on tour, and has only recently begun to perform with her own 10-piece live band.
All I can say is this – It’s about time!
This album, Love, Live & Strings, has just been released (June 16, 2015), following a launch campaign on pledgemusic dot com that solicited support and in return offered a variety of promotions including signed CD’s and so forth. Unfortunately the project is now closed but it’s good to see that it reached 129% of goal, so that launch effort was well supported.It quickly rocketed to the top of the Soul charts in the UK, reaching the No. 1 position the week of July 10. A much deserved recognition to this artist and album.
It consists, in part, of original music written by her and others, as well as some good covers (‘Say a Little Prayer’, for one). It’s just her second album, I believe, following the above mentioned Jazz Nites which was made up of cover performances of well-known jazz favorites. This album now shows the full range of her talents as both a performing artist and a songwriter, and it’s really where Diane Shaw will begin to make her mark, I believe.
The best way to introduce this CD to someone unfamiliar with Diane is to simply recommend listening to the youtube performance of the lead track, Leave a Little Love. It is an absolutely superb performance:
I’ve listened to this album once already and will be enjoying it again over the next couple of days. This is an excellent album, with greater production efforts put into the songs, I believe, and the overall result is superb.
by MDW500 – Jun 16, 2015
Although I only “discovered” Diane Shaw a couple of months ago, I’ve been waiting (in)patiently for this album to be released ever since. And she delivers from beginning to end – every track a classic! This is the kind of magic that happens when a soulful artist like Diane Shaw collaborates with real musicians, who are playing real instruments, and they record real songs (with melody, progression and lyrics that tell a comprehensive story). This used to be the norm in the music industry, now it’s more of a revelation. And the revelation that is Diane Shaw and ‘Love, Life & Strings’ is a like a breath of fresh spring air.
Look forward to catching Diane Shaw live on her tour soon.
✭✭✭✭✭ What a choon
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
By R G Whyte on 19 Jun. 2015
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
By Carl Dixon on 18 Aug. 2014
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
SONIC SOUL GERMANY - Diane Shaw "Love, Life & Strings“ (Mecca)
Modern Soul! Doch Obacht – die Musiken, die man in den Zirkeln der Soul-Spezies unter diesem Oberbegriff ablegt, haben für den/die durchschnittliche/n Freund/in tönender Unterhaltung sicher nur recht wenig mit „modern“ zu tun. Hier geht´s also eher um die zeitlosen Soul-Errungenschaften der 60er und frühen 70ger – volltönende Songs mit Pop-Attitüde, jederzeit charts-tauglich und zudem von ansteckendem Optimismus. Feel-Good-Factor: hoch. Diane Shaw zählt bei den Briten schon seit geraumer Zeit zu den profiliertesten Vokal-Damen des Genre. Nun gibt´s mit „Life, Love & Strings“ ein überaus kompetent umgesetztes Modern-Soul Album – der Titel ist Programm, sorgen doch vollausgestattete Arrangements für den satten Sound, über dem Frau Shaw ihre Geschichten erzählt. Und obendrein darf´s dann auch mal ein Remix sein – vor allem dann, wenn er derart gut gebaut daherkommt, wie „The Things You Do, bei dem die ewig gültige Bass-Linie von Lowrells „Mellow Mellow Right On“ die Richtung bestimmt.
RADIO DJ's reviews
“The vocals sublime, the production exquisite, a fabulous album, and straight out of Manchester!”
CRAIG CHARLES on BBC RADIO 2 and BBC 6 Music