One Track Mind: Hadiza Dockeray, “Somebody Better” from Chapter 4 (2013)

An intriguing mixture of old-school chanteuse and tough-minded modern woman, Hadiza Dockeray puts her foot down on “Somebody Better” — and then uses it to kick the ever-loving ass of some no-account.

Not that there isn’t a revealing amount of emotion to “Somebody Better,” and a real sense of hard-won vulnerability, but Dockeray (who wrote the music and lyrics for this advance track from new EP Chapter 4) isn’t playing the kitteny girl singer whispering her way through a coy entreaty, either.

Dockeray knows what she wants — and as her funky backing band creates a storm of edgy fusion and gnarly R&B behind her, it quickly becomes clear what a breath of fresh air we have here: Amid a recent siege of throwback, songbook-focused, utterly run-of-the-mill vocal albums, Dockeray comes out swinging — in a very real sense.

“Somebody Better” was produced by Sade guitarist Ryan Waters. Dockeray, who has recorded with Arturo O’Farrill, also brought in guitarist Steve Bargonetti, pianist David Pearl, bassist Leon Lee Dorsey and drummer Rodney Harrison for Chapter 4.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso