Robin McKelle: The Looking Glass

New York vocal stylist/songwriter plants her flag.

Robin McKelle: The Looking Glass album artwork.

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Robin McKelle’s UK visit last year was an add-on to one of her frequent sojourns to France, where appreciation for her bluesy soul sophistry is considerably more palpable. But her show at London’s Jazz Café confirmed that British audiences should wise up fast.

2006’s Introducing Robin McKelle cast her in the tradition of the Ninas and the Ellas. But McKelle has developed her own writing chops alongside her singing ones, to the point where The Looking Glass is her first album of fully self-composed material.

It shows her to be capable of a pop crossover, as on Stand Up, but also of mining the soulful depths, for example on I’m The One and Down Without A Fight. The comparison that recurs most readily is with Gladys Knight, which has only ever been a good thing.

Prog Magazine contributor Paul Sexton is a London-based journalist, broadcaster and author who started writing for the national UK music press while still at school in 1977. He has written for all of the British quality press, most regularly for The Times and Sunday Times, as well as for Radio Times, Billboard, Music Week and many others. Sexton has made countless documentaries and shows for BBC Radio 2 and inflight programming for such airlines as Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific. He contributes to Universal's uDiscoverMusic site and has compiled numerous sleeve notes for the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and other major artists. He is the author of Prince: A Portrait of the Artist in Memories & Memorabilia and, in rare moments away from music, supports his local Sutton United FC and, inexplicably, Crewe Alexandra FC.