A wonderful, somewhat eclectic set from Michelle Shocked
. Released as an independent, numbered, and strictly limited-edition (2500 copies) offering, this CD was mainly sold at her concerts during her 1998 tour of colleges and universities. It's a shame that it wasn't more widely available, because it really is a great CD. It shows many different sides of Shocked
, including an outstanding gospel song, "Can't Take My Joy." One of Shocked
's most endearing qualities is that one is never sure what she will do next. This CD is no exception, as it ranges from straight-out rock & roll ("Good News") to rhythm & blues ("Little Billie"), and everything in between. Her voice is strong, and this is particularly highlighted in the folky, truly beautiful "No Wonder." Her backup band is also quite strong, capable of switching musical genres rapidly and successfully. Her lyrics, as usual, are strong, with a wonderful swipe at gutter press in the song "Tabloid." Obviously the independent route has given Shocked
a great deal of freedom to express herself musically and lyrically. But the independence that makes this CD great also gives rise to a major problem: the difficulty in obtaining a copy. This deserves to be played on the radio and at home, and should be front-racked at all CD stores. As it is, this CD is well worth the search.