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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Segue Records artist: Vaneese Thomas - Blues For My Father - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (June 17, 2014), Blues For My Father, from Vaneese Thomas and it really hits the spot. Thomas, daughter of Mr. Rufus Thomas has put together 12 cool tracks opening with Southern Central Blues, a swinging soul number. Joined by Buddy Williams on drums, Will Lee on bass, Robbie Kondor on piano, Tash Neal on guitars and Wayne Warnecke on percussion its a bright opener. 10 X The Man You Are has a taste of Dixon's Wang Dang Doodle and a dash of Beatles really showing the strength of Thomas' pipes. Neal breaks loose with a slick guitar solo on this track adding just that dash of flash. Great track. On Wrong Turn, a duet with her sister, Carla Thomas, the girls present a light and airy R&B track that is likely to see good radio reception. Wrap Your Arms Around Me has a slinky, swampy feel with solid rhythms from Shawn Pelton and Neal on dobro. Thomas commands the spotlight with her distinct phrasing on this track and her voice is always spot on. Backing vocals from Angela Clemmons, Alan Gorrie and Ms Thomas really heat up the track. Corner of Heartache and Pain has a strong bass line compliments of Will Lee. This provides a really nice platform for Thomas to dig deep for great blues feel. Paul Schaffer adds nice organ lines and Neal tips in some guitar. Addition of a horn section on this track, Tim Quimette (trumpet), Bill Harris (Tenor/Bari sax) sets the track off nicely. Rufus Thomas sings duet with his daughter on Can't Ever Let You Go highlighted by crisp guitar riffs by Donnie Baer, a cool sax solo from Jim Spake and nice organ work from Ricky Peterson. Tasty! When My Baby Gets Home is a straight up R&B track that could easily attract solid airplay. Nice vocal work and easy smooth dobro work from Neal, highlighted by splashes of horn top this track. Love 'em and Leave 'em Behind has a real strong funky step. The hottest rhythm track on the release, pairs Thomas with Dennis Collins and Sharon Bryant on vocal and plucky bass lines from Paul Adamy. Southern Girl settles down into a smokey soul feel. Sexy sax work from Bill Harris and Kirk Whalum really add substantially to one of the best tracks on the release. A more subtle but equally effective funky soul track, Lonely Me, again really allow Thomas to shine with her solid vocals and smooth phrasing. Covering John Fogerty's The Old Man Down The Road has very little alterations in arrangement from Fogerty's original but do highlight another facet of Thomas' voice, almost Big Mama like. Very cool. Wrapping the release is Blue Ridge Blues, featuring only Thomas on vocal and Rob Mathes on guitar. This is particularly effective and a powerful, spiritual like track to wrap up this release. Excellent!

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