Matador (2021) US
Cat Power's (aka Chan Marshall) 2006 masterpiece The Greatest (not a greatest hits album, despite the title) features 12 dreamy country soul tracks recorded in Memphis at Ardent Studios under the supervision of Stuart Sikes. The sublime set finds Marshall wonderfully supported by the great Memphis session musicians Teenie Hodges on guitar and Leroy Hodges on bass (Al Green, Hi Rhythm Section), drummer Steve Potts, Jim Spake, Hubby Michell and other legends.
The combination of Marshall’s superbly evocative and flexible voice, a soul voice even back when she played with indie rockers, with some of the greatest Southern soul players still alive, has produced a timeless release on par with Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis or Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline.
The songs, all original Marshall compositions, explore themes of Southern loss, longing and marginality. From the title track, a story about a boy who longs to become a boxer but struggles against his poverty-stricken background, to tales of other marginal figures, The Greatest is all about triumphing over the odds.