Watch and listen:
I've been waiting a long time to write this review. Since January 2008, in fact. At that time, I had accidentally discovered this amazing singer/pianist from London, via the interwebs. I was still recovering from a massive heart attack at the time, and time was something I had a lot of. We struck up a fast friendship, as musicians do, and I was near-obsessed with her music!
As I stated, she was (at the time) doing mostly solo piano gigs in and around London. There used to be a number of video clips of this fireball of female fury pounding the 88s and roaring like a lioness... but over the years, they seem to have disappeared. Her career started to really take off, and she was working and recording with some of the top cats of the London R&R scene...
And then she disappeared...
I was flipping out! I needed my Cookie fix! The videos were gone from Youtube and all I had left was a few demos she had sent me (which I treasure to this day!). I asked all of my London friends, and no one seemed to know what happened to her.
In January 2012, I posted a video "Wanted Poster", of sorts, along with one of her demos, trying to find out what happened to my favorite British bombshell. Had she dropped out of music all-together? Had she developed an uncontrollable McDonald's addiction? Was she holed up in a studio somewhere, unable to find the door? Had she been abducted by pirates from Saskatchewan, or worse, aliens?
Not long after, I received a message from her sister. Cookie was indeed alive and well... and had simply married and gave birth to her son. Whew! The video, however, was getting a fair bit of attention and again, Cookie's sister saved the day. She posted the simple line, "Like this if she should return to music." And she did.
Soon after, I heard from Cookie, we got caught up and resumed our electronic friendship. She is now one of the most sought-after acts in all of the UK and Europe. She is scheduled to perform in Australia next year, and fingers crossed... the US!
OK, but isn't this supposed to be a review?
Yes. Yes it is. Forgive my historic ramblings.
Cookie, now known as Sister Cookie, has been working on her 1st album. The Soulful Torino label, out of Italy, has thankfully blessed us with Cookie's first slab O vinyl, an absolutely wonderful take on the Willie Jones classic, "Where's My Money?"
Last year, a few videos emerged of Sister Cookie, along with The Intelli Gents, performing this number live. Cookie has only gotten better over the years. While I miss her solo piano backed tracks, hearing her with this full-on combo, doing this song as only she can, knocked me to the floor. If I was ever thankful for music, it was that day. (Yeah... she's THAT good!)
So what about this record already?!?!?!?!?
I'm getting to it! GEEZ!
The A side is Sister Cookie with The Soulful Orchestra (plus backing singers) just knocking this song into orbit! This has a truly authentic feel to it, although the backing vocals remind me a bit more of late 60's/early 70's southern indie soul releases. Don't let that discourage you... it's great stuff! It has it's own unique feel... but for you purists out there, you'll be hard-pressed to convince your friends that this isn't some long lost gem!
I've long likened Cookie's singing to that of a young Koko Taylor, or more predictably, a young Big Mama Thornton. She can growl, howl, and leave you breathless with the best of them. Her vocals on this track are not the usual warblings of a 21st century wannabe. Cookie's singing would have been at home in a Clarksdale juke joint 60 years ago. She is, without a doubt, the real deal. What more can I say except that a genealogical study should be done to see if she is somehow related to Big Joe Turner?!
The Soulful Orchestra has done the original Willie Jones version proud. Like many European musicians, they approach the music with a level of respect and attention to detail. I often point this out as most American musicians tend to lean more towards the gist of a song, and then place their own stamp on it. These cats in the S.O. obviously love this genre of music, and they make sure that you, the listener, know it!
The flip side, in the tradition of many old labels, is an instrumental version of the same track. Equally listenable and danceable... just minus the vocals. So, if you're an instrumental fan, it could be said that there's something here for everyone!
I am thrilled that the younger generations have embraced vinyl. There is a certain thrill, a moment of joyous anticipation, when one drops the needle on the groove, there's the momentary hiss, and then WHAM! Sweet, beautiful music... and with this release, that is EXACTLY what you get!
So what are you waiting for? Go order YOUR copy now! Heck, you better order two... because you're bound to wear the first one out!
Sister Cookie And The Soulful Orchestra
"Where's My Money"
A Side: vocal
B Side: instrumental
The female version (and the instrumental on the B-side) of one of the most wanted r&b soul tune, where's my money by Willie Jones. Produced by Soulful Torino Records, label design by Giulia Bubblezoe Gioanola. Recorded and mixed in Torino by Ezra at Nomad studio. Vocals recorded in London by Alex McGowan at The Future Shape of Sound. Mastering by Gianluca Patrito, G-Effect studio.
The Soulful Orchestra:
Paolo Parpaglione - Sax
Stefano Colosimo - Trumpet
Davide Enphi Cuccu - Keys
Josè Loggia - Guitar
Cato Senatore - Bass
Naska - Drums
Maya - Chorus/Vocals
You can find Sister Cookie on Facebook:
Contact Soulful Torino:
Reviewed by Memphis Mike, 2014
Sister Cookie - Vocals
Rob Tyler - Drums
Wayne Hopkins - Bass
Pete Farrugia - Guitar
Alex Bland - Saxophone
Performing in some capacity since her late teens, and teaching herself to sing and to play the piano from an early age, Sister Cookie was a fixture of the vintage & retro music scenes in London, appearing regularly at events like the Lady Luck Club nights, Jukebox Jam and Shore Leave.
Following a few years' hiatus to focus on family life, she returned to music at the end of 2012. Since then, she has gigged across Europe, including wild and wonderful roots music festivals such as Lache Pas La Patate in France, Sweden's Hultsfreed Hayride, Funtastic Dracula Carnival and Slap! Festival in Spain. 2015 forecasts more of the same, with shows both at home and abroad on the horizon.
Her debut single, a version of Willie Jones' 1962 scorcher, 'Where's My Money', on which she was accompanied by Turin's Soulful Orchestra, was released through Soulful Torino Records in August 2014. A limited-edition, vinyl-only release, it sold out almost instantly. However, the demand for Cookie's rendition has so outweighed the supply, that Soulful Torino are releasing a re-press later this year.
As well as singing with many different bands on the road in Europe, Sister Cookie also performs with a London-based quartet, with whom she is currently working on a full-length album. It is due for release in late 2015, on Spanish label, FOLC Records.
Cookie's other passion is for records. Having been a long-time collector, in 2014 she began to DJ in various nightspots around London, playing 45s from her varied collection of vintage grooves at venues such as The Boogaloo, Fontaine's, The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch and The Constitution.