Malaya Blue – Still
Format: CD / Label: Blue Heart Records
Release: 2020

Text: Iain Patience

Anyone who thought, or was worried, that UK blues-soul diva Malaya Blue may have retired early can relax again. Here she is, still roaring along full-tilt, with her ever-full-on vocal delivery and shades of blues, rock, soul and jazz rippling along in her wake. With ‘Still,’ her latest offering, Blue brings a sure-fire touch with both vocals and song-writing qualities that can only add to her growing appeal and international acclaim.

Photo Credit: Boo Marshall

Malaya Blue has taken some time out to literally race through a heavy higher-education programme resulting in a doctorate being awarded, before returning to the studio to deliver this remarkable, rounded twelve-track release. With production duties managed by the legendary US producer, Denis Walker, and supported by Robert Cray’s right-hand man, bassist and writer Richard Cousins, the resulting quality of the album could seldom ever be in doubt. Other musicians featuring include the UK blues-keys master, Stevie Watts, very much the go-to-guy for tasteful keyboard work in the European blues arena.

The title track is a searing piece, with Blue’s voice never missing a beat, heart-wrenchingly touching and demanding while her song-writing skills also take a centre-stage slot. Anyone who loved her previous offerings, ‘Bourbon Street’ in 2014 followed by the genuinely wonderful, ‘Heartbreak’ a few years later, in 2016, will maybe find this latest release more rounded and subtle with some sensitive, strong ballads pulsing through the mix more than we’re used to. But that’s no bad thing here. With a voice as good as this, almost anything’s possible.

01. Still
02. Down to the Bone
03. It’s a Shame
04. Love Can Tell
05. Why is Peace so Hard
06. Love of Your Life
07. Kiss My Troubles Away
08. Settle Down Easy
09. Down to the Bottom
10. These Four Walls
11. I Can’t Be Loved
12. Hot Love

Website: Malaya Blue