Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fun on Saturday Night reviewed by Mark Thompson

Fun on Saturday Night
The Blasters
12 tracks/35:42

Over thirty years ago, the Blasters burst on the scene with a potent blend of rock, blues and country influences that the band injected with a hard-rocking sound. Led by the Alvin brothers – Phil and Dave – the group was at the forefront of the American roots music movement that continues to this day.

Their fire burned bright over five years with four highly regarded studio recordings and one live album. Then it fell apart as Dave decided to pursue a solo career and Phil did post-graduate work in mathematics. Phil reformed the band a few years later and it has endured with a variety of line-ups, including a couple of brief reunion tours with Dave back in the fold.

It’s been eight years since the last Blasters studio recording but they quickly establish that they haven’t lost a thing as they open with a spirited take of Tiny Bradshaw’s “Well Oh Well”. Phil’s voice rings out loud and clear with the usual level of barely contained excitement. Guitarist Keith Wyatt rips off the first of his nimble-fingered solos while original members John Bazz on bass and Bill Bateman on drums keep the beat rolling along. Next up is the country music classic “Jackson” with Exene Cervenka – punk band X – joining Alvin for a lusty duet with Wyatt supplying the requisite twangy guitar. “Breath of My Love” is a ballad with outstanding backing vocals from Eddie Nichols and Jeff Neal. The doo-wop style masks the torturous saga of a domestic dispute gone terribly wrong.

Then the band reverts to its blues roots with a high-octane rendition of the title song with Wyatt once again playing with distinction while Alvin shouts the blues like one of his hero’s, Big Joe Turner. Wyatt delivers some blistering guitar on Magic Sam’s “Love Me With a Feeling” while Alvin’s robust vocal on “Rock My Blues Away” is memorable moment. All the members had a hand in writing “Penny”, a raw worrying blues that owes a debt to the Howlin’ Wolf legacy. Alvin’s finest moment occurs on Sonny Boy Williamson’s (Rice Miller) “No More Nights By Myself”. With sparse accompaniment, his intimate lamentation on heartache is punctuated by mournful tones from his harp, connecting with listeners on a primal level.

Other tracks include a crackling version of “I Don’t Want Cha”, with more harp from Alvin, and a brief run-through of James Brown’s “Please Please Please” sparked by a gritty vocal from the leader. “The Yodeling Mountaineer” offers a dramatic change of pace. Yodeling isn’t for everyone but Alvin quickly shows he has mastered the style.

The final track is an acoustic re-working of one of the Blasters best-known tunes, “Marie Marie”, with Kid Ramos on bajo sexto adding to the south-of-the-border feel. Written by Dave Alvin, the song is retitled “Maria Maria” with lyrics in Spanish over a languid pace to create a more pensive approach compared to the original.

The only issue with this one is the relatively short playing time. And, while it falls a bit short of the high points of the Blasters earlier recordings, this one proves that the band can still rock the house in addition to energizing their forays into the blues idiom. Buy a copy but don’t wait for the weekend – put it on, turn it up and dance your blues away!

Reviewed by Mark Thompson

West Side Wiggle reviewed by Mark Thompson

West Side Wiggle
Omar Coleman
Honeybee Entertainment
13 tracks/49:50

My first exposure to Omar Coleman came when I heard him on Very Lucky Man, backing Sean Carney on a release from last year. Some of you may have heard Coleman playing harp as a member of guitarist John Primer's Real Deal Blues band. A relative newcomer to the blues world, Coleman has quickly incorporated much of the traditional Chicago blues tradition into his singing and playing.

The quality of his work is highlighted by the stellar band that backs him on his first solo release. When you have Billy Flynn on guitar plus a rhythm section of Bob Stroger on bass and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith on drums, you know that the music will be authentic and dig deep into the well of human emotions. Flynn's tasteful licks remind us once again that he has the knack for always playing just the right notes while Stroger and Smith stay deep in the pocket throughout the disc.

The set-list contains eight Coleman originals that show he has cultivated a real understanding of the elements that add up to a noteworthy song. The lazy pace of “She's Too Fast for Me” serves as a backdrop for Coleman's emotionally charged vocal with Aryio on piano filling out the arrangement. “I'm a Good Provider” sports an aggressive tempo with immaculate phrasing from Flynn as Coleman provides a frank description of the end of a love affair. The opening tune, “You Got a Hold on Me”, finds the singer describing all he does to keep his woman happy. Coleman resorts to more generic lyrics on “Sit Down Girl”, but the cut is rescued by surging rhythm punctuated by Brian Leach on the organ.

Coleman penned two instrumentals that spotlight his prowess on the harmonica. The title track finds him playing  robust lines that extend into some high, reedy licks before he finishes things off with some hard blowing that Chicago's west side. “Giardinara Blues” is a barn-burner that leaves no doubt that Coleman knows his way around a harp.

The legacy of Little Walter looms large for any harp player and Coleman acknowledges his debt  with a vigorous cover of Walter's “Ah'w Baby” with a hardy vocal from Coleman while “Crazy Mixed Up World” features a brief harp solo that leaves you wanting more. On the much-covered “Scratch My Back”, Coleman's lusty singing injects plenty of life into the classic. Stroger sits out on Lightnin' Hopkin's “Mojo Hand” with Flynn switching to acoustic guitar. Smith supplies a driving beat as Coleman again sings and plays with conviction. Equally fine is the low-keyed rendition of “It Hurts Me Too” with one of Coleman's best vocals and more powerful harp work.

If you love the more traditional blues styles, this recording is just what the doctor ordered. I don't remember hearing much about this one when it came out last year. That's a shame because, as this disc shows, Omar Coleman deserves the attention of the worldwide blues community. And in case you need any more incentive to purchase a copy of this fine release, proceeds from the sale benefit the Northern Louisiana Brain & Spinal Cord Injury Foundation ( Don't let this one slip by!

Reviewed by Mark Thompson

Jump Start reviewed by Steve Jones

Jump Start
Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials
Alligator Records
14 tracks

Lil’ Ed’s new release on Alligator records offers up 14  cuts for his fans, with one cover of uncle JB Hutto’s  “If You Cahnge Your Mind” and the other 13 written by Ed, Ed and his wife Pam or Ed and Harrison Sumner. Featured on the CD along with Ed are Michael Garret on guitar, James “Pookie” Young on bass and Kelly Littleton on drums.  Marty Sammon also appears on organ and piano on five tracks.

“Jump Right In” is a cute and innuendo- filled cut where Williams and Sumner have crafted an over the top blues song that will be covered by others because of the catchy lyrics and cool slide parts.  In fact, I would have to say that the cuts by Ed and Sumner and the Hutto cover are probably the highlights of the disc.  “You Burnt Me” and House of Cards” are the other two co-authored by Williams and Sumner. “You Burnt Me” opens to a guitar solo and Ed hollering about how he’s been tossed out on the streets.  Well done!  “House of Cards” begins with a stinging guitar sound that is featured throughout.  I liked these tracks a lot.  Ed’s homage to Uncle JB is also excellent.  “If You Change your Mind” has a sweet slide and Ed as the penultimate blues shouter of this era.  It’s got a big, rich sound and hearkens back to those great old days when West Side music was king.

The two cuts from Ed are also pretty good ones.  “Musical Mechanical Electrical Man”, an amusing song that runs 100 miles per hour as Ed sings about being his woman’s ,am who can provide music along with electrical and mechanical repairs. On “My Chains are Gone”, Ed and his guitar wail and moan and the organ fills in as he sings about being free of the women who wronged him.

Where the album drags a bit are the songs Ed and his wife wrote.  They begin to merge together in the Ed Williams songbook of stuff that maybe we have heard before.  Good stuff– don’t get me wrong, but it’s stuff that is similar to past efforts.  Maybe I’m being picky here; the CD is fun and gives us a huge dose of high energy.  Lil’ Ed fans will eat it up, but it seems a little repetitious at times.

Ed’s fans will enjoy this CD top to bottom and new fans will get a good listen to one of the top high energy acts in the blues world.  There’s some great new stuff here for those looking for Lil Ed the artist to wow them.  I just think trying to get 14 new songs with a lot of variety and freshness is a tough task and a few of the songs fell short because of that.  But there are some gems here and at least one if not several that will become classic Blues Imperial songs for all time.

Reviewed by Steve Jones

Live Long Day reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis

Live Long Day
Willie McBlind
Free Note Music
10 tracks/49:55

“Live Long Day”, the 3rd CD release from Willie McBlind, is a very interesting recording.  This band is headed by guitarist, singer and song writer Jon Catler. He plays microtonally fretted and unfretted guitars. These guitars are based on a 64 note scale and enable the guitarist to play the notes between the notes. I think that a bunch of blues guitarist do this anyways. I kind of get an Eastern jazzy type vibe from them. I will let you do the research on this as it gets complicated. I am just here for the music from the group. Babe Borden does a powerful job on vocals as well as adding some autoharp to the mix. Babe is a New England Conservatory trained singer and is capable of taking us on a vocal venture that is quite enjoyable. Like it or not, I get this strong feel of Adam Lambert, Prince and Janis Joplin from her vocals. This is not a bad thing but as I see it. Matt Fielder pumps out a solid bass line on his fretless bass while Lorne Watson carries the music down the tracks on the drum kit. This all makes up one solid sound for “Live Long Day’.

This CD is a mix of ten train based songs and by purpose was released on National Train Day. These tunes hit on jump, boogie and minor blues for their base point and travel from there to a new place. “Down The Road” lets us travel with an upbeat country blues tune. Catler and Borden take us on a vocal venture while trading lyrics back and forth as he chugs along on with his guitar licks.  On a rework of Robert Johnson’s “Love In Vain”, Borden takes us to a place that shows off her talent as a very versatile vocalist. Catler’s searing guitar licks along with Fieldes’ bass line make “Love In Vain” a hit for me. It just ends too soon. “Boogie Train” takes us on a ride that showcases off Jon Cater’s awesome guitar skills as well as his vocal ability. On this tune Babe and Jon again play lyrics off of each other and create a bunch of great sounds. Again I must say that I can’t explain Harmonic rhythm and Harmonic lyrics to you in this short space. But his band takes us on a different music journey and does reach out to get your attention. Their music is very innovative and kind of sucks you in and makes you listen.

Willie McBlind’s “Live Long Day” is to me a very interesting and enjoyable recording. I have spent several hours listening to the CD and researching this group on line. I do not agree with some reviews the Willie McBlind “represents a major step forward in the evolution of American blues”,*(All About Jazz) *clue*. As for the future of American blues I guess that I am still just stuck in the Mud. I do say that I like Willie McBlind and did enjoy “Live Long Day” to the point that I still listen to it because it takes me to an enjoyable music space. Check it out for yourself.

Reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis

When I Left Home – My Story reviewed by Mark Thompson

When I Left Home – My Story
Buddy Guy – with David Ritz
Da Capo Press
267 pages

Buddy Guy has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity that makes him, along with B.B. King, the current elder statesman for blues music. The guitarist has achieved world-wide fame through his high energy live performances, outstanding recordings that successfully explored the full scope of Guy’s artistry plus his club, Legends, that is the preeminent blues bar in a city filled with live music venues. But all of this success did not come easily - it was decades in the making. We are fortunate that we now get a closer look at the Buddy Guy story, as told by the man himself.

When I Left Home is divided into three sections.  The first six chapters detail the early years of Guy’s life down the backroads of Louisiana. The son of Sam & Isabell Guy, his childhood wasn’t out of the ordinary. He stood next to his father and started picking cotton at the age of nine. He enjoyed baseball, especially when he could listen to a Brooklyn Dodgers game on the radio and take pride in Jackie Robinson’s accomplishments. Guy also had a knack for taming wild horses. His father made sure that the young man knew the meaning of respect.

Each Christmas, a family friend named Henry Smith – nickname “Coot” – joined the Guy’s for dinner, after which Coot told stories and played his two-string guitar. Buddy loved the sound Coot was able to pull out of those two strings. He began to experiment with building his own guitar, stealing wire from his Mama’s new window screens and using rubber bands. Later, the family acquires an old phonograph just as John Lee Hooker’s “Boogie Chillen” was released and became the favorite record in the Guy household. A chance meeting with guitarist Lightnin’ Slim deepened Guy’s interest in the guitar. Finally his yearning is satisfied when his father buys Coot’s instrument.

As a teenager, Buddy lived with his sister, Annie Marie, in Baton Rouge. He continued playing guitar, discovered girls and worked a variety of jobs. He returned to help his father after his mother suffered a stroke but life wasn’t the same. Eventually, Guy’s father decides to leave the rural life and move everyone to Baton Rouge, where another life-altering experience was waiting.  Guitar Slim had a huge hit with “The Things I Used to Do” and when he made a local appearance, Buddy was there to experience the frenzy of Slim’s live show with his flamboyant clothes and wild entrances courtesy of a 300 foot guitar cord. Everything Buddy would ever need to know about capturing the attention of an audience stems from what he learned from Guitar Slim.

The next section, titled When I Left Home, is a single chapter that finds Guy making the decision to leave home and head for a new life in Chicago. He had gotten encouragement from a friend, Lawrence “Shorty” Chalk, who was already living up north and promised that Buddy could stay with him. It seemed like Shorty was living the good life but upon his arrival in September, 1957, Guy discovers that the reality of big city life is far different than the bright picture Shorty had painted.

The bulk of the narrative is contained in the final section, After I Left Home. Guy describes his initial visit to Chess Records in an attempt to capture the attention of Leonard Chess. Soon he meets Muddy Waters and Otis Rush. It quickly becomes clear to Guy that he can’t compete with the guitar prowess of masters like Rush, Earl Hooker and Magic Sam. So he dazzles audiences and club owners with his showmanship while steadily proving his understanding of deep blues to other musicians and band leaders.

Guy relates plenty of stories about many of the legendary musicians from that generation. And chapter titles like “Wild Little Nigger From Louisiana” make it readily apparent that Guy isn’t about to pull any punches. He has plenty to say about Willie Dixon on the issue of song copyrights and covers his long-running partnership with Junior Wells in several chapters. Points are made regarding excessive alcohol use and womanizing without dwelling on the topics. And Guy openly admits his own shortcomings.

In 1972, deciding he wanted to curtail being on the road so much for the sake of his family, Guy decides to buy the Checkerboard club on Chicago’s south side. The experience set the stage for him to open Legends in a better neighborhood seventeen years later.

The only short-coming with the book is that the last forty years of Guy’s career are briefly covered in an equal amount of pages that conclude the book. Given that during that time Guy has played countless high-profile gigs and shared the stage with too many legendary musicians to count as he achieved international fame, one would think that there are still many stories untold.

David Ritz provides a big assist in helping Guy keep the narrative sharp and focused without stripping away the vital elements of Guy’s character. We are fortunate to have this opportunity to hear Buddy’s story in his own words. This is one of those books that draws you in and quickly puts you in the can’t-put-this-down mode. It is a worthwhile read that provides an insider look at the glory days of Chicago blues and one of its indisputable legends.

Reviewed by Mark Thompson

Try Me reviewed by Denny Barker

Try Me
Meena Cryle

Twenty years ago Meena Cryle, Austrian born and raised, formed her first group, a psychedelic rock band, at the age of 15. During the ensuing years she traveled to Mozambique, throughout Europe, northern USA( Chicago ), and back to Europe, all the time honing her vocal skills. After returning to Europe she experimented with different types of music until she was signed by Thomas RUF Records. RUF flew Meena and her guitarist, Chris Fillmore who is featured on several tracks, to Memphis where together with producer Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Walter Trout, Santana, The Steve Miller Band to name a few) they recorded her first official CD "Try Me".

The CD opens and closes with 2 great covers, the title track "Try Me" that made James Brown a star fifty some years ago, and the closer "Just As I Am" a Luther Allison tune. Meena's well done renditions of both of these tunes are complimented by guest artist Joanne Shaw Taylor, guitarist on "Try Me", and guitarist Coco Montoya with vocalist Shakura S'aida on "Just As I Am". A third cover "I'd Rather Go Blind", a blues classic first recorded by Etta James, has guest artist Donna Grantis on guitar. The remaining 9 tracks were all written or cowritten by Meena.

Although this CD has an impressive list of guest artists, including Eric Sardinas and Erja Lyytinen, the standout performance on all 12 tracks is Meena' s classic voice, a voice with power, range, style, emotion and intensity, a voice that fits perfectly with American Blues. She does such a great job on all 12 tracks it is difficult to choose standouts, some are bluesy, some are rockers, all are well done. I can't wait to see Meena on stage in person, but for now I've got "Try Me". Do yourself a favor and give Meena a try.

Reviewed by Dennis Barker

Drink My Wine reviewed by Mark Thompson

Drink My Wine
Darren Jay & the Delta Souls
11 tracks/47:07

This new release marks several significant points in Darren Jay's career. It features his new band of Memphis-based musicians including several high-profile guests. And it appears just as Jay left for a tour of duty in the middle East as a member of the US Naval Reserve. He certainly deserves our thanks for his service to our country – and we can show our appreciation by making a point to check this out.

It won't take long for you get caught up in the strong performances on this one. Jay is an engaging singer and a guitarist with chops to spare. He burns through the opening instrumental, “Rider”, spurred on by the swirling Hammond B-3 organ chords from Tony Thomas while “Zilla” has a big beat supplied by Rodd Bland, son of legendary singer Bobby “Blue” Bland, on drums. Jay's musical partner, Laura Cupit, lays down a thick bass line while Jay supports himself, adding rhythm guitar behind his measured lead work.

Two tracks feature a three piece horn section consisting of Art Edmaiston on sax and Marc Franklin is joined by Wayne Jackson of the legendary Memphis Horn on trumpet. They get a chance to stretch out at the end of “Workday Blues”, a lively number that bears a strong resemblance to “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” with some searing guitar licks from the leader. “Too Late Baby” is rousing Texas-style shuffle with the horn blasting away behind more greasy organ from Thomas and Cupit on backing vocals.

“(Baby) Don't You Lose My Number” is a fun little blast of rock & roll with Thomas impressing with his keyboard prowess while Jay's guitar work elevates “Everybody Get Together”, which suffers from generic lyrics. Drummer Hubert Crawford sets the pace on the title track, his muscular pulse the perfect backing for Jay's blistering guitar. Another one of Jay's impressive originals, “River's Edge”, closes the disc in dark fashion as the singer heads to Memphis to search for his woman. Once again, Jay sparkles on lead and rhythm guitar.

The band's version of “Hoochie Cootchie Man” veers away from a blues feel in favor of a heavy rock performance that scores points for at least opting for a a different approach to this well-worn classic. Jay shows off his skills on the other cover, “Tin Pan Alley”, his soul-wrenching playing offering a fine counterpoint to his understated vocal. Edmaiston to form a one-man horn section on tenor and baritone sax.

Darren Jay & the Delta Souls can take a lot of pride in this release. They offer up a varied program that features earnest original tunes performed with the expertise you would expect from a band of veteran Memphis musicians. And this one will have you looking forward to the date when Jay will have completed his military service and is able to showcase his talents on stage. I certainly want the opportunity to catch his live show. Until then, this solid effort will remind me of what we are missing.

Reviewed by Mark Thompson

Show of Strength reviewed by Rick Davis

Show of Strength
Michael "Iron Man" Burks
Alligator Records
12 Tracks

Michael Burks had just completed his new CD Show of Strength, soon to be released on Alligator Records. Unfortunately it will be his final statement, leaving the blues world with a legacy of remarkable modern blues music. This blues veteran was in route home to Arkansas after a European tour, when he collapsed at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and died on May 6th, 2012 at the age of 54.

He started playing guitar at the age of two with his father Frederick, who was a bass player in Milwaukee blues clubs, often backing Sonny Boy Williamson II and other touring or local artists. Michael's grandfather, Joe Burks, played acoustic Delta blues guitar in Camden, Arkansas. By the age of 14, Michael was touring as a guitar player with Michael Clay and the Fabulous Souls. In the early 1970s, his family moved to Arkansas and built a juke-joint named the Bradley Ferry Country Club, where he was hired as the house band leader and backed big names in the blues and R&B world. When the club closed in the 1980s, he left music only to return in 1994. He released his self-produced debut CD titled From The Inside Out in 1997, launching his career as one of the hardest working bluesman in the business. He followed up after signing with Alligator Records with Make It Rain in 2001, I Smell Smoke in 2003, and Iron Man in 2008. Michael was nominated for numerous blues awards for Iron Man earning him a top spot among contemporary blues guitarists.

 He was at the top of his career with his latest Alligator release ironically titled Show of Strength. Burk's high powered guitar and strong, soulful vocals are very distinctive both live and on disc. He is backed on this latest CD by Wayne Sharp on organ, piano, and backing vocals, Terrence Grayson on bass and backing vocals, and Chuck “Popcorn” Louden on drums and backing vocals. Additional musicians are Roosevelt Purifoy on keyboards and Scott Dirks on harmonica. Show of Strength opens with fiery guitar licks on "Count On You," along with deep vocals straight from the heart. "Take A Chance On Me, Baby," the first of five tunes Michael either wrote or co-wrote, delivers the same guitar attack at a much slower pace.  He will take you to the top on "Storm Warning," and  "Can You Read Between The Lines," blues numbers that typify just how well Michael can tear it up on lead guitar, combined with other band members contributing great rhythm guitar and keyboards. It is really a solid performance by the entire band! Next on the set list is "Cross Eyed Woman" featuring Michael opening with his typical lead guitar style and quickly moving into some burning slide guitar leads scorching the fret board along with superb keyboards from Wayne Sharp. "Little Juke Joint" brings back memories of growing up in his family juke joint where he recalls playing blues from sun down to sun up. It features some exceptional harmonica playing by Scott Dirks. "24 Hour Blues" is one of most powerful, soul drenched tunes on the CD, with searing guitar leads once again. It is followed up by the hard drivin' powerful "Valley Of Tears." "Since I Been Loving You," a self-penned tune, delivers a slower, straight ahead, smooth blues sound with Michael once again center state with his guitar solos. His vocals are very convincing on the song "I Want To Get You Back." Another original song, "What Does It Take To Please You," in my opinion, is the is the best cuts on the CD offering well executed West Coast guitar solos by Burks. "Feel Like Going Home," with a spectacular piano introduction, is very fitting for his final studio recording, with Michael Burks seemingly reflecting on life and going out with one of the best guitar solos of his studio career.

I had the opportunity to meet Michael at Bamfest (Bellville American Music Festival) in Bellville, Wisconsin in 2007. Michael was one of those recording blues artists who had time to discuss the blues with any of his fans at any given time. He had a voice that would captivate audiences much like the late great Albert King. He will certainly be missed by blues fans the world over! His legacy will ring out in the blues world forever!

Reviewed by Rick Davis

33 1/3 reviewed by Steve Jones

33 1/3
Shemekia Copeland
Telarc Records
11 tracks

No one can sing like Ms Copeland.  I love her ability to belt out a song as well as anyone or to take it down and mellow and get the goose bumps up on my arms.  Buddy Guy, JJ Grey

“Lemon Pie”  opens the album, and Shemekia and guitar player/producer Oliver Wood just serve it up big time.  Shemekia is in great form and the guitar solos complement this young lady’s fantastic voice. The song talks about societies haves and have-nots, apt commentary on what we have become.  “Can’t Let Go” follows, Lucinda Williams hit penned by Randy weeks, and Copeland tells the story of a love she knows if over but she can’t let go in a bluesy way.  The distortion gets turned up here on guitar and the Oliver Wood solos add grit to this cut about lost love.

“Aint’ Gonna Be Your Tatoo” is a way down tempo song about a gal who does not want to wind up being just a guy’s faded and blue tattoo.  Shemkia sings as she leaves his hotel room and ends their relationship because she was a victim of abuse from the same arm that featured her image; she implies continued “exposure” to that arm would make her faded and blue like the tatoo.  Buddy Guy offers a stinging guitar solo in the middle of this, again an excellent effort.  Copeland wails and moans and gives us a great performance here.  Three songs in and the emotions are running quite high!

Copeland gives us a great tale of a phony preacher who worships “Somebody Else’s Jesus.”  The guy’s priorities are money and material things, and Copeland calls him out for it.  The song is country blues song, with a twangy guitar and bouncy beat.  She stays country with JJ Grey’s “A Woman,” giving us a nice little ballad while taking the tempo back down.  “I Sing the Blues” offers up Copeland in a mid-tempo track with some pretty harp adding the mix as Copeland alludes that “My Daddy sang the blues to her Mama and I’ll sing the low-down dirty stinkin’ blues to you.”  Guttural and visceral stuff here.

“Mississippi Mud” gives us a little funky beat and a great sound (JJ Grey also sings with her here) while “One More Time” offers up slow blues penned by dad Johnny Copeland and done here with some pretty harp by John Liebman in the mix. Sam Cooke’s “Ain’t That Good News” swings and swings as Copeland joyously sings about her baby coming home tomorrow.  “Hangin’ Up” goes back to ruined loves and relationships as she takes her packed up bags and goes.  She closes with “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”, a soft and sultry cut.  She almost whispers as she calls for her man in this Dylan classic.

Copeland expresses a lot of emotion and feelings here in her experiences from 15 years as a touring artist.  I think it shows that these songs all have some sort of personal meaning for her.  She adds her touches to the covers and makes them her own as she does the new material.  Her fans will not be disappointed with this CD nor will those new to her– this CD just grabs you and grows and grows in intensity and feeling with each listen.  I love listening to Shemekia and this is a great offering from her!

 Reviewed by Steve Jones