Tales O Love And Desperation

REVIEW by Willard Manus

A tip of the cap to Zola Moon. The LA-based singer/songwriter has just released a new CD, ZOLA MOON--TALES OF LOVE AND DESPERATION, which is by far her best. Zola wrote ten of the eleven tunes on the disc (the other is the traditional House of the Rising Sun), each one of which shows her at the top of her form.

Zola not only sings but writes from the heart, always with honesty, power and beauty. Her range is great: she can be rueful and sad on "Hard Liquor," a drinking man's lament; bitter and angry on "Talkin' About You," an attack on an evil-hearted lover; sexy and playful on "Bluesville," a hip-shakin' paean to the joys and pleasure to be found in the blues.

On the latter cut, Zola also plays some wicked harmonica, backed up by Eddie Estudillo's soaring saxophone solo. Other participating musicians include Jerry Olson, drums; Vince Joy, lead and rhythm guitar; Eric Williams, bass. One of Zola's colleagues, Cynthia Manley, provides superb back-up vocals on "Steel Bars," "Don't Blame It On Me" and "How Long," a cry from the heart from a woman whose hard luck in life includes a long-absent boy friend.

"Don't Blame It on God" is perhaps the most memorable song on the CD, if only because of the way it explores man's inhumanity to man. Zola looks at the mess we make of our lives--and the lives of others--and reminds us, bravely, that we've got no one to blame for these failings but ourselves. God's got nuthin' to do with it.

The song is greatly helped by Joy's guitar work and Manley's
additional voicings, but of course the main reason for its success must be attributed to Zola's impassioned singing and remarkable lyrics. She is a rare one, all right, a local treasure.

TALES OF LOVE AND DESPERATION also benefits from its superior production values. Produced by Wiiliam Seegmiller and Richard Vidan, the CD's sound is crisp and clear, thanks to recording and mixing by Bob Schreiner at Westworld, mastering by Kris Solem at Future Disc.

To order a copy, or for further information, click on ZolaMoon.com or ColdDish#verizon.net