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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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Friday, August 17, 2018

True North Records/ New Sun Records artist: Crystal Shawanda - VooDoo Woman - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, VooDoo Woman, from Crystal Shawanda and it's off the hook. Opening with Willie Dixon's Wang Dang Doodle and Shawanda wastes absolutely no time showing that she means business. With a powerful voice and the greasy slide work of DeWayne Strobel, backed by Stephen Hanner on harp, Dave Roe on bass and Louis Winfield on drums, this track is powerful! Title track, Koko Taylor's VooDoo Woman has a rock edge with crafty harp riffs and a tight bottom. Again, Strobel's slide work had a strong influence on the overall sound supporting Shawanda's powerful vocals. One of my favorites on the release is Big Mama's Hound Dog with a snappy rock edge. Shawanda handles the shift in tempo like an old pro with sure dynamics and Strobel's rock riffs are clean and distinct. A definite high point on the release is Shawanda's cover of Etta James' I'd Rather Go Blind. He voice really lends itself to this particular song and the warm female backing vocals, complimented by Peter Keys on B3 really makes this track sing. Dorothy Moore's ballad, Misty Blue stands strong among the other giants on this track with solid sax work by Dana Robbins. Very nice. Ballad I'll Always Love You shows a more pure, less guttural vocal side of Shawanda and in a more radio focused track featuring writer Tommy Stillwell on guitar. Wrapping the release is acoustic based Blue Train with Strobel on resonator under mostly sole vocal by Shawanda. With just the right touch of backing vocals and a nod to original field songs, this is a solid finisher for a very cool release.

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