Jo Fabro | Save My Soul

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AUSTRALIA - New South Wales

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Urban/R&B: Soul Blues: Blues Vocals Moods: Type: Vocal
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Save My Soul

by Jo Fabro

Fresh soul music, with a contemporary twist, and a hell of a lot of power and heart.
Genre: Urban/R&B: Soul
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Can You Be My Friend
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4:44 $0.99
2. When Love Comes to Town
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4:05 $0.99
3. Save My Soul
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5:06 $0.99
4. Song for C.T.
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3:27 $0.99
5. New Song
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4:23 $0.99
6. Lullabye
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4:18 $0.99
7. Walk Out of My Life
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5:43 $0.99
8. Little Sucker
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4:02 $0.99
9. You're Gonna Get It
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3:52 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
SAVE MY SOUL ALBUM REVIEW –Greg Levine
“Jo Fabro
Save My Soul
Is this what they call ‘retro’? That’s the question that occurred to me on first listening to Jo Fabro’s Save My Soul. The singing, arrangements, instrumentation and recording have a 1960s rhythm and blues flavour. Fabro’s vocals have a powerful melodic understatement that recalls the no-nonsense approach of Carla Thomas or Jean Knight (a very welcome relief from all the contemporary R’n’B yodelling we’re bombarded with); the drums have a sense of space about them, partly from the way they were recorded but mostly from James Hauptmann’s cool, laid-back groove; Zoe Hauptmann’s bass is as solid as a funk wall, while Franco Raggatt’s guitar and Nick Southcott’s keys fill in spaces without overcrowding. The album was recorded to sound like a band in a room and there’s even a bit of distortion around the edges, hands-in-pockets, trying to look casual. Is it ‘retro’? Let’s compare it with Guy Sebastian’s ‘latest creative masterpiece’ (a quote from his website). G.S. and associated operatives went to Memphis, hired Booker T. and the MGs as backing band and recorded a bunch of old soul hits. The mp3s on his website sound good but how could they not? There’s a video of him singing with Steve Cropper in the background and he’s even wearing the obligatory Donny Hathaway-style cap. It is definitively ‘retro’: I cast his CD to the ground and spit upon it, stomping it into the earth (not that I bought it, but I would if I had). So what sets Jo Fabro’s soul apart from the G.S. material? Many things, most important of which, from a musical perspective, is the fact that Fabro wrote all her own songs. And she didn’t just paste her own words over the top of standard licks. There are fresh-sounding hooks in each of her tunes that show an impressive understanding of the genre. Anybody can imitate a past style but it takes artistry to work in an established idiom and create something that sounds a bit different. Not too different – there are no weird harmonies or odd time signatures – it’s a more nuanced originality, and it’s this that makes Save My Soul extremely listenable. What else sets it apart? Fabro appears to have almost no financial backing while G.S. seems to be a treasured employee of the Sony corporation. As unmusical as it may seem, this industrial side of music can also be a determining factor in whether a genre album is a work of art or empty ‘retro’ posturing. It seems more complicated than it really is: corporation-backed soul is in it for the bucks while Fabro and band are in it to be in it. So the answer to the original question must be that while Fabro’s album is undoubtedly of the 1960s soul genre, it is not ‘retro’. It is not affect-less appropriation of a past style. In fact, Fabro, her band and their recording appear to have more in common with the spirit of the European renaissance than the postmodern moment. Sounds whacky, I know, but digital reproduction has restructured all the creative industries in such a way that the corporations have to desperately try and keep up with people like Fabro, while a space is gradually opening for niche markets to become the industry norm. The potential de-commodification of art is an enormous cultural shift. As music critic Norman Lebrecht puts it, ‘We are entering a time of greatest imaginable opportunity… for all major performing art forms because for the first time we’re no longer confined to space and time’. It’s an opportunity for the art forms not the corporations. So the future is bright for people as talented and dedicated as Jo Fabro and her band. Because they can make great music that people like to listen to they don’t need to rely on million dollar marketing campaigns. If the music industry continues this swing back to the listeners’ ears rather than their desires, Fabro and co. are perfectly positioned to thrive.”


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