Dirty Linen - p.60
"Pense's voice is as commanding and sassy as ever, as she performs a couple of memorable duets with Michelle Shocked and Tower of Power singer Lenny Pickett."
Personnel: Michelle Shocked, Lydia Pense (vocals); Skip Mesquite (saxophone, background vocals); Richard Armstrong (trumpet, percussion, background vocals); Mike Rose, Mic Gillette (trumpet); Raul Matute (piano); Donny Baldwin (drums, percussion, background vocals); David Garibaldi (drums); Mike Morgan (percussion); Lisa Battle, Leah Tysse (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Gordon Brislawn; Randy Emata.
Lydia Pense and Cold Blood work in close coordination on Transfusion, bringing forth a big, soulful sound. Pense, who handles most of the lead vocals, is a powerful, full-throated singer, reminding one of Bonnie Raitt and Toni Price. It makes sense, then, to put a fairly large group like Cold Blood behind her. The trumpet, saxophone, keyboards, bass, electric guitar, percussion, and background vocals work well with Pense's extroverted style, providing her ample cushioning for emotive flights of fancy. Transfusion gets a funky start with "Face the Music," the first of two pieces written by Steve Dunne. Interestingly, "Face the Music" runs over five minutes, but -- thanks to the perfect blending of vocals, instrumental work, and performance -- the song never feels long. With songs like "It Could Be Me It Must Be You," featuring guest vocalists Lenny Williams, Pense and Cold Blood glance back toward the '70s, capturing a groove somewhere between soul and pop. There's also an interesting guest vocal by Michelle Shocked on the last track, "Down to the Bone." Shocked and Pense concoct a fun, freewheeling duet here that's kicked into overdrive by Steve Dunne's guitar work. Filled with lots of funky instrumental work, lively vocals, and good material, Transfusion's soulful groove is easy to enjoy. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.