Producer Jerry Wexler puts the earthy vocals of Maggie Bell in a beautiful setting here. She stretches John Prine's "Souvenirs" to the max with Steve Gadd ably assisting by splashing the drums as deep as Bell's vocals. Her uptempo version of J.J. Cale's "After Midnight" is more captivating than Eric Clapton's; she oozes that Etta James sexuality while Reggie Young throws some tasty guitar into the semi-calypso groove. Bell's identity is unique on much of the material, but a couple of tunes have her paying tribute to some of her sisters. The title track, "Queen of the Night," is drenched in gorgeous harmonies by the Sweet Inspirations and is pure Genya Ravan, but conversely, the cover of "A Woman Left Lonely," embraced totally by Janis Joplin on Pearl, is a sweet vocal and totally alien to how Joplin ripped the song to shreds so wonderfully. It works on an entirely different level on Queen of the Night – Bell's voice is an instrument that slips into different styles on a moment's notice.
Queen. They made music that was so unique, there aren't really that many bands that have been brave enough to attempt cover versions of their songs. Few singers, after all, want to have their voice compared to Freddie Mercury's, few guitarists can negotiate the tightrope wire between dazzling technique and melodic playing as skillfully as Brian May.
While some bands are all about The Sound, and others are all about The Song, Queen excelled at both. Sumptuous productions, virtusoso performances and a willingness to go out on a limb meant that you were guaranteed to hear something you'd never heard before, while the songs got their finely honed hooks in you and refused to let go…
A great lost chapter in the career of organist Lonnie Smith — a session recorded in the 80s, but done with the simple straightforward soul jazz groove of earlier sides on Muse and Prestige ! Lonnie's working here in a loose and free trio format — with Melvin Sparks on guitar and the great Alvin Queen on drums — rolling out over longish tracks in an open-ended style that almost recalls more of the feel of Don Patterson's great organ trio sides than it does the heavier funk of Smith's early years. The recording quality is great — very faithful to the best tones of the Hammond.