Mercury Prize-nominated 2003 album, co-produced by soul singer Betty Wright and S-Curves founder Steve Greenberg, includes Carla Thomas, Aretha Frankin, Isley Brothers and White Stripes covers
LOS ANGELES, May 26, 2017— Joscelyn Eve Stoker, better-known as Joss Stone, was born in Dover, Kent, England, and grew up listening to singers like Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin, emulating their gritty, soulful style on her groundbreaking 2003 debut album, The Soul Sessions, Volume 1, which proved a worldwide sensation and will now be released on vinyl by UMe on May 26.
Stone appeared on several U.K. TV talent shows, but was discovered by British producers Andy Dean and Ben Wolfe, who in turn convinced S-Curve Records founder and veteran U.S. label executive Steve Greenberg to audition Stone. Greenberg enlisted veteran Miami soul singer Betty Wright to work on what became The Soul Sessions album, with local musicians such as Benny Latimore, Timmy Thomas and Little Beaver as well as contemporaries Angie Stone and The Roots.
The idea behind the album was for Stone to record more obscure soul tracks by the likes of Aretha Franklin (“All the King’s Horses”), Carla Thomas (“I’ve Fallen in Love with You”), the Isley Brothers (“For the Love of You, Pts. 1 & 2”). Willy “Sugar Billy” Garner (“Super Duper Love [Are You Diggin’ On Me] Pt 1”), Laura Lee (“Dirty Man”), Bettye Swann (“Victim of a Foolish Heart”) and the Soul Brothers Six (“Some Kind of Wonderful”) as well as offbeat choices such as Waylon Jennings (Harlan Howard’s “The Chokin’ Kind”) and even Woodstock hero John Sebastian (“I Had a Dream”). The first single was Stone’s cover of the White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl,” transposed to “Fell in Love with a Boy,” and produced by the Roots’ Questlove. That single reached the Top 20 of the U.K. Singles chart, as did the follow-up her version of Sugar Billy’s “Super Duper Love.”
The Soul Sessions, Pt. 1 entered the U.K. Albums chart at #89, and eventually peaked at #4 in its fifth week, with the British Phonographic Society certifying it triple platinum. It has since sold more than a million copies in the U.K. In the U.S., The Soul Sessions peaked in the Top 40 on the Billboard 200, and within six months, was certified gold.
The album is now nearing platinum in this country. The album was also an international hit throughout Europe, where it hit the Top 5 in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal, Top 10 in Belgium and Italy, Top 12 in Sweden and Top 15 in Switzerland as well as #4 on the European Top 100 albums. It was awarded a Platinum Europe Award by IFPI for sales in excess of one million across the Continent. The Soul Sessions earned platinum in both Australia and New Zealand, and as of July 2012, had sold five million worldwide.
The critics were mostly effusive, with Rolling Stone’s Jon Caramanica enthusing, “Stone shines on this impressive covers set… she chooses songs wisely. AllMusic’s Thom Jurek said Stone “has unique phrasing and a huge voice that accents, dips and slips never overworking a song or trying to bring attention to itself via hollow acrobatics.”
The A.V. Club’s Keith Phipps said, “Sessions established Stone as a formidable interpreter.” The album was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize and was nominated for a MOBO Award for Best Album. Stone released the sequel to the album, The Soul Sessions, Vol 2 in 2012.
1. “The Chokin’ Kind” (written by Harlan Howard, originally performed by Waylon Jennings, 1967)
2. “Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin’ On Me?), Pt. 1 (written by Willie Garner, originally performed by Sugar Billy, 1974)
3. “Fell in Love with a Boy” (written by Jack White, originally performed by White Stripes, 2001)
4. “Victim of a Foolish Heart” (written by Charles Buckins/George Jackson, originally performed by Bettye Swann, 1972)
5. “Dirty Man” (written by Bobby Miller, originally performed by Laura Lee, 1967)
6. “Some Kind of Wonderful” (written by John Ellison, originally performed by Soul Brothers Six, 1967)
7. “I’ve Fallen In Love With You” (written and originally performed by Carla Thomas, 1968)
8. “I Had a Dream” (written and originally performed by John Sebastian, 1970)
9. “All the King’s Horses” (written and originally performed by Aretha Franklin, 1972)
10. “For the Love of You, Pts. 1 & 2” (written and originally performed by the Isley Brothers with Christopher Jasper, 1975)