Album review | SOUL

Lara Price, ‘I Mean Business’

Soul music with a vintage-retro feel has enjoyed a happy revival this year, led by Texas native Leon Bridges summoning memories of Sam Cooke. Now comes this captivating new release by the Bay Area’s Lara Price, who combines Gladys Knight’s sophistication with Mavis Staples’s grit. A Vietnamese native who came to the United States as an orphan, Price has battled her way up the soul-blues ranks on five previous albums; this new one, a true knockout, features guitarist Mighty Mike Schermer, who tours with Marcia Ball, and Robert Cray Band keyboardist Jim Pugh. Price co-wrote many of the songs, including the Temptations-like “Slipped Tripped Fell in Love”; “Time,” a sublime ballad about knowing when to leave a lover; and the swinging title track, in which she wails “I mean business!” and leaves no doubt she does. Price’s gift is to sing with passion, but not to oversing; emotionally she spans from the sassy “Get It When I Want It” to the poignant “Happy Blue Year” in a genuine tour de force.


Essential “Slipped Tripped Fell in Love”