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Lady “A” - BlueZ in the Key of Me

Self released, 2010

The new release by Lady A and her Baby Blues Funk Band is tight, funky old school R&B at its very best. If you have seen here live (very highly recommended by the way) you know that they put on a high energy, good time, fill the dance floor and keep them there shaking it until they drop show. Well BlueZ in the Key of Me follows suit with some sophisticated jazzy slow cheek to cheek numbers tossed in for good measure.

The Baby Blues Funk Band are Richard L. Mills on guitar, Gary Smith on bass and J. Oliver III on drums, keys and other instrumentation plus bass on 3 tracks and also had a hand in writing the music for a dozen of the 13 original tracks and lyrics on 6. Additional guest musicians include Bruce Laing-harmonica, Steve Black-guitar, Butch Harrison-trumpet and Teri Anne Wilson-guitar although track listings for them aren’t listed.

In addition to the 13 originals 2 classic bonus cover songs Rufus Thomas’ “Walking the Dog” and Bill Withers’ stupendous “Use Me” are included to round things out. The art, design and photography of Amanda Gresham of Delta Music Experience make for a very professional package.

The band stays tightly in the groove throughout and adds a punch when needed. On “Good Music, Good Gumbo” Miss White invites you to her house for a backyard bash singing “LJ Porter’s in the house Red Hotz just might stop by before the night is out… this parties off the hook it started at four, ‘cause I’ve got good music, good gumbo and all my good friends, all get together, the party begins.

The CD opens with the title track a laid back blues with a slinky guitar solo. “Do Yo Thang” opens with harp and goes right into the funk with Lady A imparting sage advice to a friend to ‘wake up and find yourself a new man.’ “R U Ready” is party time dance music and “Still Leaving” is a slow soul blues torch song. “Use Me” doesn’t have the punch and snap of Withers version; but the soul is undeniable and “Walking the Dog” is a joyful funky strut.

In my opinion all; but maybe the most hard core blues traditionalists will love this CD, and I think it could easily make converts out of some of them too! BlueZ in the Key of Me is definitely a keeper and deserves some attention. Go to a show and get a copy is my recommendation.

Reviewer Malcolm "Yard Dog" Kennedy is a frequent contributor to the Washington Blues Society Bluesletter, and he is the former Vice President and Merchandise Director of the society. He is the co-author of the profile published in the 2009 Blues Festival Guide, which recognized the WBS for its Keeping the Blues Alive Award. Malcolm volunteers at the society's monthly all-ages Blues Bashes and at many festivals and special events promoting the blues in the Pacific Northwest.

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