Lucinda Williams – Good Souls Better Angels

Album Review | Highway 20 Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

The fourteenth studio album in a career that spans just over forty years.  Good Souls Better Angels demonstrates that this Louisiana-born songstress shows no immediate signs of slowing down any time soon, nor for that matter does it look like Williams is even considering conforming to other people’s rules or indeed pandering to perceived tastes. The opening song “You Can’t Rule Me”, sets out these parameters from the start.  These twelve songs show a determination to be her own boss and the first rule of being a good boss is good delegation and for this album Lucinda surrounds herself with Buick 6, her regular touring band, each of the musicians evidently on fire.

The songs have a certain punch, whether they’re blistering attacks such as “Wakin’ Up”, for which the singer could be Patti Smith’s kid sister, or on the slower ballads, “Big Black Train” for instance or the sprawling “Good Souls”, which highlights her tortured soulful pleading delivery in just under eight minutes.  That voice though, a mixture of late night barroom slur and late morning hungover drawl, Williams could sound like a parody of herself if her songs were not as good as they so obviously are.

Choice Track: Big Rotator (NSV 501)