Oh Susanna – Sleepy Little Sailor

Album Review | MVKA | Review by Allan Wilkinson

When the Toronto-based singer songwriter Suzie Ungerleider, otherwise known as Oh Susanna, first released her second album Sleepy Little Sailor back in January 2001, the new Millennium was still in its infancy and the current popular music of the day was dominated by Limp Bizkit, Bob the Builder and Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out”, whilst the iTunes media player was simultaneously being launched to cater for some of this stuff.  Twenty years seems a lifetime away to a twenty year old, but to some, it’s merely a heartbeat away.  Twenty years to Oh Susanna probably means the bulk of her creative output, the pursuit of Canadian citizenship, a battle with breast cancer and more recently, the re-issue of her earlier output in deluxe editions.

The Sleepy Little Sailor deluxe edition, released on CD, digital and for the first time vinyl, follows the re-release last year of her debut album Johnstown from 1999 and features the original eleven songs, plus five previously unreleased tracks, either recorded during the original album sessions or more recently.  Suzie’s voice shines through every single track, which pivots between a gentle whisper, notably on the achingly sombre “Beauty Boy” and “Sacrifice”, to the full-throttle bar room bellow of “Ted’s So Wasted”, which indicates plainly that Oh Susanna means business.  With the one non-original, Otis Redding’s soul-drenched “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember”, Sleepy Little Sailor comes around once again just at the right time, when we need it most.  

Choice Track: Kings Road (NSV 508)