Michelle Shocked - Got No Strings
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Got No Strings (Mighty Sound, 2005)

Michelle Shocked

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Michelle Shocked calls this Western swing flavored collection of Disney songs "Got No Strings." But the thing she's most detached from here is the need to give any of these familiar Magic Kingdom-associated tunes predictable arrangements.

Instead, she purrs like a sexy kitten on "To Be A Cat" and adds plenty of vocal spice to "Spoonful of Sugar." Her bevy of fine musicians provides added ammunition for Shocked's open-minded musical mission. Greg Leisz's lap steel, and David Jackson's jazzy walking bass especially stand out throughout. Shocked, who gained her fame on the folk music circuit, is anything but a plain folk singer, however. Her come-hither vocalizing in many places takes on a Mae West-like quality, albeit without that actresses' comedic side. Children indoctrinated by repeated viewings of "The Jungle Book," will no doubt recognize and appreciate favorites like "Bare Necessities" here. But clued-in adults will immediately pick up on Shocked's obviously more mature intentions. For instance, she titled this disc "Got No Strings" because it arrives on the heels of her recent string-snipping divorce.

This artist, who has always been politically outspoken, takes a much subtler and more personal approach here. This time it's her musicality, and not her political insight, which takes center stage.

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