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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Dechamp Records artist: JJ Thames - Raw Sugar - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Raw Sugar, from JJ Thames and it's rich. Following on the coattails of her spectacular release Tell You What I Know Thames keeps it rolling. Opening with Oh Lord, a simple spiritual blues, the instrumentation is kept to a minimum with Joe Seamons on acoustic guitar and backing vocal and Ben Hunter on mandolin surrounded by a wealth of warm vocals. Hattie Pearl kicks into high gear with Darryl Sanford on rockin piano and with Kimble Funchess on trumpet, Jessie Primer III on sax and Robert Lamkin on trombone. Shuffle track, I'm Leavin' features Eddie Cotton Jr. on guitar and Thames is really moving with Anthony Daniels on bass, John Blackmon on drums and Sanford on keys. Leftovers is a funky, jazz pop track with a strong bass line by Daniels. Thames' vocals are well blended and the melody is radio bound. Bluesy, Woman Scorned, sets a real nice stage with Cotton playing a smoking opener. Thames's delivery is powerful and her vocals inviting. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Only Fool Was Me with particularly soulful vocals from Thames and a really nice solo from Primer. Bad Man rides high on a great blues riff by Cotton and Daniels. Cotton takes a cutting solo swaddled in horns by Funchese, Primer and Lamkin. Very nice. Ballad, Hold Me, is rich in blues and soul. I really like this track with sweetly interwoven vocals. Excellent. Blues track, Don't Stop My Shine has a real funky bottom thanks to Daniels and you can feel Thames strut as she sings. With horns a blazing, and a solid key solo by Sanford, this track is really hot. I Don't feel Nothing has a clever interplay between blues and jazz, featuring Cotton and stinging guitar riffs and snappy drum licks by Blackmon. Plan B (Abortion Blues) has a real nice neo soul feel and Thames really shines. With it's light backing, Thames vocals float on the music. Really nice. Title track, Raw Sugar, sets up with Cotton laying out some hot blues riffs and developing into a down n dirty blues ballad. Thames fuels the fire vocally and Cotton really builds up steam backed by Sanford. Wrapping the release is I Wanna Fall In Love, a brighter R&B style track. Thames warm harmonies, backed by easy horn work sets the pace and Lamkin takes a sassy trombone solo giving the track a boot. Very nice closer to a solid release.

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