Hear Elise LeGrow's Smoldering Cover of Fontella Bass' Soul Classic "Rescue Me" [Premiere]
A slow-burning take on the Chicago soul standard
Elise LeGrow does not have an easy task at hand. On her upcoming debut album, Playing Chess, the Toronto singer will recalibrate time-tested tunes from powerhouse Chicago soul factory, Chess Records, home to some of the canon’s most revered works and their respective r&b icons.
But in the case of today’s offering, a slow-burn through Fontella’s Bass’ 1965 smash, “Rescue Me,” the redux leans heavy on the seductive powers of invention. Where a propulsive rhythm drives the original recording, LeGrow punctuates a brawny and spacious arrangement with a muscular, yet tempered voice; a soulful experiment that underscored “the underlying sadness of the lyric,” as she explained in an email.
This is nostalgia’s most transformative quality; that new meaning is derived from even the most concrete memories only after revisiting them. Which doesn’t escape the Toronto singer as much as it emboldens the purpose of Playing Chess in a generation old heads indict for lacking some sort of requisite reverence for the past. That’s their right, I suppose, but they won’t be able to cast LeGrow off as easily.
Hear Elise LeGrow’s cover of Fontella Bass’ “Rescue Me” above and hold tight for her next transmission.