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From the Inside Out

Give the Singers Some!

By Published: February 17, 2007

Vocal (to open) and instrumental (to close) versions of the title track mash-up the insistent itch of classic James Brown with second-line snare drum rolls and snaps. "That's How It Was may sound like cheery fun, but it's a screed about post-Katrina Gulf Coast recovery efforts cast in torrid, thick Crescent City funk; Holland's production makes the snare drum crack like thunder and the bass sound like a big funk whirlpool swirling the music around.

Wilson is supremely cocksure on "A Woman Like Me ("...don't grow on no tree, just so you know) and on the second verse of "Blood from a Stone, a West-Coast Latin funk groove with a bass line and horn chart that sound poised to cruise through "Low Rider before veering tangentially off.

But Wilson also knows to not leave you without a smile, which she delivers with a romp through the warhorse "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover. Its frantic arrangement—an up-tempo blues two-step tugged in the opposite direction by lazy mariachi horns—presents her best vocal performance, probably because it challenges her voice the most.

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