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A soul singer with presence

Soul Shake
Soul Shake
By Angela Strehli

Antone's Records: 1987

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Tennilleclass="credit">This review first appeared in the October/November 1988 issue of A Critique of America.

Straight from Antone's in Austin comes one of the warmest, most soulful blues vocalists to emerge in recent years. Angela Strehli not only has the lungs to sing in smokey bars all night, she has a feel for the music that many vocalists never acquire.

On "Soul Shake," Strehli cooks from start to finish. The band is competent, the songwriting better, but its Strehli's vocals and spirit that hold it all together. Her voice has an intangible quality, a shimmer – think Toni Tennile tackling some meaty material and you get an idea of how Strehli sounds.

The music isn't what traditionalists what call blues – it's closer to what Robert Cray plays, soul with a blues swing to it.

Holland, Dozier, Holland's "Back in My Arms Again" is a good example of Strehli's ability to impart a blues feeling to just about any song. This Motown staple gets turned into a Texas blues boogie in her hands.