Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Cost of Love reviewed by Steve Jones

The Cost of Love 
Suzanne & the Blues Church
www.theblueschurch. com
10 tracks

Suzanne Thomas is not the average blues woman; Korean-American by birth, raised in an African-American household, tutored by Jimmy Smith on Hammond organ at 6 years of age, attended music school in Los Angeles, became a guitar player in her 20’s are but a few of the interesting things listed in her bio. She played in the Blind Racoon Showcase at the 2012 IBC’s in February after releasing this CD on January 17th. Thomas had at least a hand in 8 of the 10 tracks here and selected two great cover tracks to highlight her skills. She plays with a heavy, rocking tone and sings with great conviction.

“Damn Right I Got the Blues” and “All Your Love I Miss Lovin’” are the Buddy Guy and Otis Rush covers on the CD. As in the original, Guy’s song has a massive guitar sound, and Jimmy “Z” on harp adds even more to this big cut. Rush’s track is smoothly and effectively done; both do not stray a lot from how they were intended, and Thomas does them justice.

“Musta Been Gone 2 Long” features a scratchy record sounding overlay on top of a retro sound where mentor Ray Bailey (guitar, bass and drums) fills in well, too. The title track shuffles and grooves in a minor key as it follows the opener, “Cheatin’ On Me” which is a medium tempo and minor key song that sets the stage for this great new artist to get you ready for some hot stuff. These two cuts are impressive and tell the listener that what is to come is some serious stuff.
Also joining her on the CD are Jerry Jones-Haskins (drums), Frank W. Garrett (bass), Bruce Edwards (organ and Fender Rhodes), “Rev” Charles Jones (B-3), Tyree (organ), and BR Millon (guitar). This is a very solid set of musicians who are together and play well together. Whether in a down tempo song singing for her lover to Set Her Free” or blasting away in “Mr. Bailey”, Suzanne is adept at her craft. Even the spoken story track “Dusty Six String Box” is intriguing and not over done; Thomas tells us of her brother’s “inheritance” and lays on some licks and a groove as she tells her story in a mythical manner.

Suzanne Thomas is an accomplished and interesting musician who understands and feels her blues. She bares her emotions as she performs, giving authenticity to what she sings about; she gives the listener a great ride as they go from song to song together on this well-done debut CD. I think we will be hearing a lot more from this musician!

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