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March Album Reviews

Shemekia Copeland America’s Child Starting off the month of March, known to some as International Women’s Month and March 8th known as International Women’s Day, I thought it would be a good idea to do a tribute to women musicians this month. The first one is probably the most well-known out of the bunch: multiple award-winning Shemekia Copeland. Copeland broke out at the tender age of 18 and in twelve short years she was named 2010 Blues Artist of The Year. For me, this is one of those CDs that I had to listen to several times before I could really appreciate it. On the surface, many of the songs sound like anthems for a snowflake, but the variety of songs on the CD make it stand out. A guest appearance by a gravelly-throated John Prine on “Great Rain” adds a nice touch of eeriness to this song, one of the better cuts on the disc. “The Wrong Idea” is a funny song that could be an anthem for the ladies this month, as she is out with her friends and not looking for a bed partner for the evening. “What makes you think you got a shot, of gettin’ this good stuff that I got”, classic line. In “Promised Myself”, she slows it down with a sad tale of heartbreak and redemption. “Such a Pretty Flame”, has some good guitar, I just, how can I say it without offending, think this performer needs some voice lessons. While she is very beloved in Blues circles, this is not one of my favorite artists or CDs.

ALCD 4986

Lindsay Beaver Tough As Love Canada’s own Lindsay Beaver busts on the scene with her first CD, which she produced, and has some great guitar and lyrics. Some of the songs sound like 1950’s and 1960’s era stuff, which is cool as she has that old-school guitar sound. “You’re Evil”, one of my favorite cuts, falls into Lindsay’s self-described category of Punk-Blues. The more you listen to this CD, it becomes apparent that this classically trained vocalist and a jazz-trained drummer is very talented beyond her years. “Too Cold To Cry” rolls off like a hip version of music from 50 years ago. She then dives into some Jump Blues with some sweet horns and a swinging up-tempo beat. Then she slows right down with “You Hurt Me”. The vocal range of this performer is incredible. Fast, Slow, Fast again…this CD is just poppin’… It will have your toes tapping in no time. She really stole my heart though with “Got Love If You Want It”, a remake of one of my favorite Blues Artists of all time, the incomparable Slim Harpo. Lots of good rockabilly-style guitar on this one folks, it’s just one good jam after another. She gets back to the real blues with “Lost Cause”, a great jam about what else…love gone wrong. “Let’s Rock” takes us back to the sock hop, with Ritchie and Pottsie in the band and The Fonz giving a big “Ayyyyy”. A great CD I would definitely recommend.

Sue Foley The Ice Queen This is an excellent CD. Another Canadian export, Foley flows like an ice-cold Molson after a hot sesh at the CB Skatepark. She has been belting out the Blues for nearly 30 years and shows no signs of stopping. Excellent, sultry lyrics on this CD accompany great guitars and good beats. If I had to pick a favorite song on this disc I would say all of ‘em. While a lot of the gang is raving about Samantha Fish these days, I would say the Ice Queen can stand toe-to-toe not unlike Becky Lynch will do at Rasslemania against Rowdy Rhonda. And just as hard-hitting as a flying elbow drop off the top rope, this CD smacks you right in the face. The title cut “Ice Queen” has a smooth swanky groove that makes you want to have another bourbon with one of them big ice cubes in it. There is some insanely groovy guitar on this one. “Fools Gold” starts off with a familiar voice straight out of cheap sunglasses, yes it’s Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top. Foley’s duet with Gibbon’s sings of romance being nothing but sedimentary rock known as pyrite. Hey I got a B.S. in Biochemistry so I can say stuff like that. However, unlike the cheap stuff, this disc is SOLID GOLD. “Send Me to The ‘Lectric Chair” is another anthem for the ladies as she tells the judge she slit her man’s jugular when she caught him cheating. Now who hasn’t had that thought…? Haha just kidding. “Death of a Dream” is a very slow one about a failed romance with some very gentle finger-plucking and Foley’s smooth, sultry voice melting the microphone. “The Dance” is another great one with some interesting guitars reminiscent of the background music in a spaghetti western. So remember, there are two types of people in this world: those with loaded guns, and those who dig. So go buy this CD. You dig?

Tornado Bait Teacup’s Half Full I was all set for Foley to be my CD of the month until I got ahold of this. All I can say is go out and get this CD right now. I really did not know how much I needed this in my life until I heard it. Hard to pin this down in the genre category, reminds me of Femmes and Milkmen at times, maybe some Butthole Surfers too, but with Chrissy Hynde singing. Except Chrissy just did some whippets. Or inhaled helium. Lead singer Msesippi McQuown dons a paper bag on her head on the cover as does many of her adoring fans at the live performances. We have a drummer who plays a suitcase, a Tiedye Cowboy who plays banjo, and a Momma who plays the Rainstick. “Let Me Be” is a great cut, although I am still trying to figure out just what she is saying. But that’s OK, I can’t understand 90% of Screamo Metal but I love it just the same. “Whoa To The Man” is another solid jam, as she says this town ain’t big enough for two of us with some gravelly vocals, and I swear I hear a kazoo. There is a lot going on in this CD and it comes together perfectly. “Don’t You Call Me Baby” is Msesippi’s take on a romantic slow jam, banjo style, and you can feel her emotions transcending the song and reaching deep into your soul. “Cheesus Crust” is another knee-slapper that gives me visions of Gibby and some pizza toppings while McQuown and her brood sing about food products and then here comes the kazoo again. I really don’t know what’s going on but I love every second of it. A great group of musicians that complement each other like a well-oiled piece of machinery. Like I said, I really don’t know how I lived my life up to this point without this golden nugget of goodness. “Thunder” is another great jam with great harmony and guitar with a nice snare drum beat (or is that a suitcase?). If you buy any CD this year, this should be it.

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