Laura Rain & The Caesars – Gold (LRC): Laura Rain is a strong soul singer fronting a rock’n’soul band led by guitarist and co-writer George Friend. The band is tight and plays with a controlled yet energetic fervor that demands attention. Oddly, I can’t find any listing of band members other than Friend. The rest of the band includes walking bass and a tight drummer, with the occasional and highly effective addition of a horn section (sax and trumpet comp) on a few numbers. Rain’s vocals are reminiscent of and clearly styled after Aretha in the late 70’s and 80’s. The vocal quaver and dominance of the upper register is the main connection. (For those of you with a deeper aural history, I hear hear a tone very similar to Esther Phillips.) The instrumental soundscape is more ROCK & soul given the dominance of the amped up guitar and rhythm section. The medium tempo and softer “Guilty Me" and “Raise Your Hand" create a nice shift, while keeping the backbeat front and center, at least until it’s ballad time. Soul/blues fans should check her out.