ALBUM REVIEW: Samantha Fish – Belle of the West

Samantha Fish

Belle of the West

Audio CD

Label: RUF


17 November, 2017

 RATING: *****

As refreshingly vibrant as a rainbow on a dew moistened autumnal morning, Samantha Fish brings it on home magnificently with her new studio album Belle of the West.

The opening American Dream is a beauty. The metronomic drum beat with which it is introduced sets the ‘feel good’ rhythms, with Fish’s own cool vocalisation, unfaltering acoustic guitar and clear writing abilities coming to the fore from the off. Added to this are the underlying fife of Sharde Thomas and mandolin of the album’s producer Luther Dickinson which goes to serve up a distinctly wholesome ‘down south’ feel to the number.

That the album has been recorded at Zebra Ranch Studios in North Mississippi has added a country-styled freedom to the collection. Need You More is an absolute gem of a song that could easily have been penned by Parton at her peak, whereas when the mood shifts up a notch with Cowtown Samantha Fish’s blues roots burst forth like a rocket on November 5th.

There are covers here too, not least of which is R L Burnside’s Poor Black Mattie. Here featuring cutting edge bluesman Lightnin’ Malcolm, the rich intonation of Burnside’s lyrical mastery are given a softer but no less edgy reboot, with Malcolm’s sassy, cheeky playing and deeply gritty vocals providing a party feel that are hard to ignore; it’s beat as inviting as chocolate on a bad day.

On any day, come to that.

The title track, too, originally penned by Jumbo Matheus, has a distinctly Crystal Gayle kind of vibe going on, but with a subtlety of delivery that is as pure as it is captivating.

There are eleven little slices of heaven contained on Belle of the West, true, but stand outs have to be No Angels. Its energy and drive are mesmeric, whereas its almost dangerous backbeat is guaranteed to have volume buttons edging ever nearer maximum from the off. Great too is Nearing Home featuring another rising star, Lillie Mae, that as a result contains a timbre that’s devastatingly soul embracing in its multi-styled delivery. Then there is the joy that simply bleeds out the album closer, Gone for Good.

Belle of the West is a beautiful album. It’s richness of tone, superlative production values and overall delivery a landmark not only in Samantha Fish’s already much lauded career, but also in those fortunate enough to appreciate its calibre.

Track List:

American Dream

Blood in the Water

Need You More



Don’t Say You Love Me

Belle of the West

Poor Black Mattie

No Angels

Nearing Home

Gone for Good


The Stables, Milton Keynes
Monday 20th November 2017

Ticket Price: £16.50
Book Tickets:
Box Office: 01908 280 800
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Stockwell Lane, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, MK17 8LU

The Tunnels, Bristol
Tuesday 21st November 2017
Tickets Price: £14
Book Tickets:  Bristol Ticket Shop
Venue Box Office: 0845 6050255
Bristol Ticket Shop: 0370 44 44 400, 0117 929 9008
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Arches 31 & 32, Bristol & Exeter Mews,
Temple Meads, Bristol, BS1 6QF

Robin 2, Bilston
Wednesday 22nd November 2017
Ticket Price: £16 Adv / £18 Door
Book Tickets: 
Venue Box Office: 01902 401 211
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20-28 Mount Pleasant, Bilston, WV14 7LJ

The Brook, Southampton
Thursday 23rd November 2017
Ticket Price: £15 Adv / £17.50 Door
Book Tickets:
Box Office: 023 8055 5366 (Wed-Sat 1-7pm)
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466 Portswood Road, Southampton, SO17 3SD

Borderline, London
Friday 24th November 2017
Book Tickets: ReallyLiveMusic
Ticket Hotline: 0844 847 1678
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Orange Yard, Manette St, London, W1D 4JB

The Flowerpot, Derby
Saturday 25th November 2017
Ticket Price: £16 / £16.50
Book Tickets: GiganticSeeTicketsTicketline
Book Tickets: TicketwebWeGotTicketsSkiddle
Box Office: 01332 204 955
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25, King Street, Derby, DE1 3DZ

Keighley Blues Live
Sunday 26th November 2017
Ticket Price: £12 / £15
Book Tickets:
Venue Tel: 01274 562 252
Venue: The Octagon, Bradford Road, Sandbeds,
Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 5LY

Stramash, Edinburgh
Monday 27th November 2017
with support from Melissa Kelly and the Smokin’ Crowes
Ticket Price: £17.50 Adv / £20 Door
Book Tickets: Stramash
Box Office: 0131 623 4353
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207 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1JQ

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