Originally released on Sovereign in 1972, Bedfordshire native Lawson possesses a powerful voice that seems equally adept at belting out stage tunes and rock and roll, and her sole album includes fine examples of both. Produced by Trees guitarist David Costa, the album features the participation of Trees bassist Bias Boshell and soprano saxophonist extraordinaire, Lol Coxhill. Despite obvious Joni Mitchell comparisons (perhaps self-fulfilling, as Lawson freely admits that it was Mitchell?s 1969 release ?Clouds? that convinced her to become a singer/songwriter), Lawson has a conversational style to her compositions that also reminded me of the early work of Janis Ian and Tracy Chapman, with ?Nothing New? an exciting singalong that combines the best of both of these ladies and could have been a hit single. In fact, if you close your eyes and listen to ?Rolling Back,? it?s hard to imagine that you are not listening to some long lost outtake from Ian?s mid-70?s comeback classics, ?Stars,? ?Between The Lines? or ?Aftertones.?
The lilting ?I Won?t Get My Feet Wet Again? invites audience participation and ?Let Me Not Put You Down? is musically arresting, with Lawson?s lovely acoustic backing floating along Boshell?s searing organ fills, but the lyrics could use some work, consisting of little more than the title repeated ad infinitum. The album?s lone choice for single, ?Only A Week Away? is an upbeat, calypso-flavored singalong (think Nilsson?s ?Cocoanut? meets ?Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da?) and, like me, you?ll wonder why this wasn?t a hit.
Lawson further admits that ?Playing Is No Song? was directly influenced by Carole King and one listen will convince you that this gospel-inflected tale could easily have set alongside anything on King?s previous year?s ?Tapestry.? ?You?re So Right, September? is another crowd-pleasing shoutalong, whose backing vocal arrangements suggest that this may have been a perfect track for The Roches or Deadly Nightshade to include in their live repertoires.
Quirky arrangements shifting effortlessly from rock to show tunes with a definite ear for pop hooks and a not unpleasant emotional voice all add up to an eclectic album of folk, rock, jazz, Latin, and calypso beats that will appeal to fans of Mitchell, King, Ian and other early 70?s female singers. (Surprisingly, Lawson does an amazing job at completely obliterating any trace of her British accent, so it?s equally surprising that the album didn?t sell in America.) 7/10 -- Jeff Penczak (28 June, 2006)