The Soul Sessions

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The Soul Sessions
Studio album by Joss Stone
Released 16 September 2003 (2003-09-16)
Recorded 9 April – 12 May 2003
Studio
Genre
Length 42:06
Label S-Curve
Producer
Joss Stone chronology
The Soul Sessions
(2003)
Mind Body & Soul
(2004)
Singles from The Soul Sessions
  1. "Fell in Love with a Boy"
    Released: 24 January 2004 (2004-01-24)
  2. "Super Duper Love"
    Released: 10 May 2004 (2004-05-10)

The Soul Sessions is the debut studio album by English recording artist Joss Stone, released on 16 September 2003 by S-Curve Records. The album consists of cover versions of soul songs from the 1960s and 1970s, in addition to a cover of The White Stripes' 2001 song "Fell in Love with a Girl". In 2004, The Soul Sessions was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize and was nominated for a MOBO Award for Best Album.[1][2]

Background[edit]

The Soul Sessions was produced by Miami soul singer Betty Wright and S-Curve Records chief executive officer Steve Greenberg. Stone worked with veteran Miami soul musicians Benny Latimore, Little Beaver, Timmy Thomas and Wright herself. She also worked with contemporary musicians such as neo soul singer Angie Stone and the alternative hip hop group The Roots.

Stone told MTV News that she felt intimidated by the credentials of the musicians that worked on the album. "It was weird because they've worked with so many great, great singers. I'm talking the best. I kind of walked in, just like this little girl and started singing."[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 74/100[4]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[5]
The A.V. Club positive[6]
Entertainment Weekly B+[7]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[8]
The New Zealand Herald 5/5 stars[9]
PopMatters positive[10]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[11]
Stylus Magazine C[12]
The Village Voice C+[13]
Yahoo! Music UK 8/10 stars[14]

The Soul Sessions received positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 74, based on 15 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[4] Jon Caramanica of Rolling Stone stated that "Stone shines on this impressive covers set" and that "[s]he chooses songs wisely."[11] AllMusic's Thom Jurek wrote that 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."[5] Jim Greer from Entertainment Weekly noted that Stone "does have an extraordinary voice", but added that "the only misguided ploy on The Soul Sessions is a Roots-produced slo-mo cover of a White Stripes tune."[7] Russell Baillie from The New Zealand Herald opined that "with her strong, emotive voice she nails it time and again, and with performances that aren't an excuse for the vocal acrobatic show you imagine this would have been had Stone been America's next bright young thing."[9]

The Guardian‍ '​s Dorian Lynskey described her singing as "rich, mature and agile but not showy".[8] Nick Duerden of Blender magazine gave the album three stars out of five and commented that "Stone's voice is remarkably authentic, and the atmosphere she conjures is smoky and sleazy, pure mid-'60s Detroit."[15] Jason MacNeil wrote for PopMatters that her voice is "more of a soulful voice than those so-called soul divas out there today" and that it "oozes sex appeal as Benny Latimore's piano weaves some magic."[10] At The A.V. Club, Keith Phipps remarked that "Sessions establishes Stone as a formidable interpreter."[6] Andrew McGregor of BBC Music felt that the album "seems a bit of an artistic compromise, music from the rule book rather than the heart."[16] The Village Voice critic Robert Christgau was not impressed either, and viewed Stone's covers as "the kind of soul marginalia Brits have been overrating since Doris Troy was on Apple".[13]

Commercial performance[edit]

Stone performing in Milan in 2005

The Soul Sessions entered the UK Albums Chart at number eighty-nine for the week ending 10 January 2004,[17] peaking at number four in its fifth week on the chart.[18] The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) certified the album triple platinum on 15 April 2005,[19] and by July 2012, it had sold 1,075,492 copies in the United Kingdom.[20] Additionally, it became the sixteenth best-selling album of 2004 in the UK.[21]

In the United States, The Soul Sessions was a sleeper hit. On the issue dated 4 October 2003, the album debuted at number 199 on the Billboard 200 and at number seventy-six on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums,[22] peaking at number thirty-nine on the former and at number thirty-eight on the latter in its twenty-fourth week on both charts, on the issue dated 8 May 2004.[23][24] Prior to that, the album topped the Top Heatseekers during the week of 21 February 2004.[25] Sales were high on the East Coast, especially in cities such as New York City, Philadelphia and Boston.[22] Within six months of its release, The Soul Sessions was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on 29 March 2004.[26] The album had sold 981,000 units in the US as of July 2011.[27]

The album was also commercially successful in the rest of Europe, where it reached number four in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, number five in Portugal, number seven in Belgium, number eight in Italy, number twelve in Sweden and number fourteen in Switzerland,[28] as well as number four on the European Top 100 Albums.[29] In June 2004, The Soul Sessions was awarded a Platinum Europe Award by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for sales in excess of one million copies across Europe.[30] In Oceania, the album peaked at number sixteen in Australia and number eight in New Zealand,[28] earning platinum accreditations from the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) for sales in excess of 70,000 and 15,000 copies, respectively.[31][32] The Soul Sessions had sold five million copies worldwide as of June 2012.[33]

Track listing[edit]

All songs produced by Betty Wright, Steve Greenberg and Mike Mangini, except track 3 produced by Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, Wright, Greenberg and Mangini, and track 7 produced by Greenberg and Mangini.

No. Title Writer(s) Original artist Length
1. "The Chokin' Kind"   Harlan Howard Waylon Jennings (1967) 3:35
2. "Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin' on Me?) Pt. 1"   Willie Garner Sugar Billy (1974) 4:20
3. "Fell in Love with a Boy"   Jack White The White Stripes (2001) 3:38
4. "Victim of a Foolish Heart"  
  • Charles Buckins
  • George Jackson
Bettye Swann (1972) 5:31
5. "Dirty Man"   Bobby Miller Laura Lee (1967) 2:59
6. "Some Kind of Wonderful"   John Ellison Soul Brothers Six (1967) 3:56
7. "I've Fallen in Love with You"   Carla Thomas Carla Thomas (1968) 4:29
8. "I Had a Dream"   John Sebastian John Sebastian (1970) 3:01
9. "All the King's Horses"   Aretha Franklin Aretha Franklin (1972) 3:03
10. "For the Love of You Pts. 1 & 2"   The Isley Brothers (1975) 7:33

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of The Soul Sessions.[36]

  • Joss Stone – lead vocals
  • John Angier – string arrangements (track 7)
  • Cindy Blackman – drums (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9)
  • Adam Blackstone – bass (tracks 3, 11)
  • Deanna Carroll – backing vocals (track 7)
  • Mark Ciprit – guitar (track 7)
  • Jack Daley – bass (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9)
  • Kirk Douglas – guitar (tracks 3, 11)
  • Karen Dreyfus – viola (track 7)
  • Taneka Duggan – backing vocals (track 7)
  • Jimmy Farkus – acoustic guitar (track 5)
  • Karen Fuchs – photography
  • Sam Furnace – saxophone (track 7)
  • Chris Gehringer – mastering
  • David Gorman – art direction, design
  • Steve Greenberg – executive producer, production
  • Steve Greenwell – engineering, mixing (all tracks); bass (track 7)
  • Willie "Little Beaver" Hale – guitar (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9)
  • Dawn Hannay – viola (track 7)
  • Kamal – keyboards (track 3)
  • Lisa Kim – violin (track 7)
  • Myung Hi Kim – violin (track 7)
  • Sarah Kim – violin (track 7)
  • Soo Hyun Kwon – violin (track 7)
  • Bryan Lasley – art direction, design
  • Benny Latimore – piano (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9)
  • Leanne LeBlanc – cello (track 7)
  • Liz Lim – violin (track 7)
  • Mike Mangini – production (all tracks); tambourine (track 2)
  • Namphuyo Aisha McCray – backing vocals (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 9)
  • Angelo Morris – acoustic guitar (track 1); guitar (tracks 2, 4, 5); organ (tracks 6, 9); keyboards (track 10)
  • Ignacio Nunez – percussion (track 2)
  • Sandra Park – violin (track 7)
  • Danny Pierre – keyboards (track 7)
  • James Poyser – keyboards (tracks 3, 11)
  • Robert Rinehart – viola (track 7)
  • Tom Rosenfeld – viola (track 7)
  • Laura Seaton – violin (track 7)
  • Sarah Seiver – cello (track 7)
  • Rob Shaw – violin (track 7)
  • Fiona Simon – violin (track 7)
  • Charles Allen Smith – photography
  • Fatou Sow – A&R
  • Alan Stepansky – cello (track 7)
  • Angie Stone – backing vocals (tracks 3, 11)
  • Jenny Strenger – violin (track 7)
  • Timmy Thomas – organ (tracks 1, 2, 4, 8)
  • Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson – drums (tracks 3, 7, 11); production (tracks 3, 11)
  • Jeremy Turner – cello (track 7)
  • Betty Wright – backing vocals (tracks 1–3, 4, 6, 9, 11); production (tracks 1–6, 8–11)
  • Jeanette Wright – backing vocals (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 9)
  • Sharon Yamada – violin (track 7)
  • Jung Sun Yoo – violin (track 7)

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Argentina (CAPIF)[70] Gold 20,000x
Australia (ARIA)[31] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[71] Platinum 30,000x
Belgium (BEA)[72] Platinum 50,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[73] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[74] Gold 106,000[75]
Germany (BVMI)[76] Gold 100,000^
Greece (IFPI Greece)[45] Gold 10,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[77] Platinum 15,000x
Italy (FIMI)[78] Gold 50,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[79] Gold 40,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[32] Platinum 15,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[80] Gold 20,000*
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[81] Gold 20,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] 3× Platinum 1,075,492[20]
United States (RIAA)[26] Gold 981,000[27]
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[30] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Edition Label Ref.
United States 16 September 2003 Standard S-Curve [82]
Canada 28 October 2003 EMI [83]
United Kingdom 24 November 2003 [84]
Japan 16 January 2004 EMI [34]
Netherlands 23 January 2004 [85]
France 6 February 2004 [74]
Australia 13 February 2004 [86]
Austria 20 February 2004 [87]
Germany [88]
Switzerland [89]
Brazil 12 March 2004 [90]
France 8 June 2004 Limited (CD + DVD) [35]

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