Huge thanks to Ray Hayden at Opaz for sending me a copy of Martine Girault’s new album promo sampler – just at the time when I was wondering what was going on with one of my favourite “daughters of Soul music”. From the moment the sampler dropped into my hands, I just couldn’t stop playing ‘Can’t Leave You Alone (Remix)’. That track still takes me back to the 80’s with fond memories of all those familiar elements of vocoder synths and backbeats, with Martine’s sweet delicate vocals dripping gloriously over the top. On this promo package, she also has the bravery to put her own perspective on Omar’s evergreen classic ‘There’s Nothing Like This’. You know that saying: If it ain’t broke….

For me, this was an interesting development on many levels. Firstly, it was the very first time anyone anywhere had attempted to cover this classic. Secondly, the attempt involved one of the UK’s own and best loved music producers in the form of Ray Hayden of the legendary OPAZ Studios in London. Last but not least, the singer is none other than Martine herself, who is one of London’s own adopted vocalist and daughter, by way of Brooklyn New York/Haiti.

It has to be stated even now that Martine stays true to the original vision behind the song and yet brings an added Latin feel to it, while retaining its original Jazz-loungey groove. In the chorus, she sings with an innocence and yet a fullness that brings a smile to your face. As cover versions of classic tracks go, it remains an excellent effort.

Most importantly, she does not fall into the temptation of totally dissecting the original in some radical fashion in order justify the decision or to develop a sense of having achieved something extraordinary. That is a temptation which might have befallen a less-versed singing and production combo than these two. And in that sense, they are forgiven for daring to take on the challenge – and thankfully they do it justice.

And just in case you still don’t know very much about the singer I’m talking about here, check out her classic signature tune Revival

Martine on MySpace