Barbara K Reviewed
Ready (Fire Sister)It should come as no surprise that Barbara K's solo debut, Ready, picks up where Timbuk 3 left off. Full of deep grooves and introspective lyrics, Ready also demonstrates that she can stand on her own as a songwriter and musician. It flows with songs of deep personal meaning, yet with the engrossing sonic trappings and remarkably funky rhythms that make listening to the entire disc an experience unlike your typically monotonous singer-songwriter disc. She opens with the proclamation "Defenseless," letting the listener know you are in her control. "I'm gonna hold you there in my firm love, until all your defenses fall on the floor," she demands in a coy near-whisper. Then tunes like "I've Known You Before," "All the Way Down," and "Feel" simmer and perk with an erotic undertow that draws the listener close, while slyly working up a steamy sweat. "I don't want to make you think," sings K, "I want to make you feel." Ready ends with the wistful "Magaresa," Bukka Allen's accordion melding with a doleful fiddle played by Richard Boudin, and the effect can only be described as Southwestern psychedelic. The playing throughout is stellar as K gets help from some of Austin's best players, including bassist Mark Andes, guitarist Rob Gjersoe, and drummers Rob Hooper and Wally Ingram. The recording is remarkably clear. Along with producer Joseph James, Barbara K has assembled not only one of the best-sounding discs, but one of the best collections of songs you'll hear this year.