Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Seriously Raw" - Cee Cee James (FWG Records/Burnside Records Distribution)

Review By - Roy Brown
Outside of Portland, several decades ago, a little girl that her mother called Christina took mom's hand on the way Sunday services. She was thrilled by the voices, the passion that came with voices; Christina was driven by something deep inside and had to join in. She never strayed far from those voices. As time passed, one voice emerged. Singing her passion became the life journey of Cee Cee James. She is not only one of us, she is one of ours, spending her days in the small northwest village of Langley, on Whidbey Island while spilling her guts for the northwest blues scene, night after night.

Low Down Where The Snakes CrawlDropping her given name and coming off a huge success of the first blues album, Low Down Where The Snakes Crawl, her second blues CD was recorded last fall at the Sunbanks Rhythm and Blues Festival: Seriously Raw, Live at Sunbanks. While "Snakes" was a concept album and musically went in multiple directions, the upcoming release is an outdoor, pure party buffet of blues, blues / rock, and with just a sprinkling of straight ahead rock and roll (check out her version of Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits"), as arranged Cee Cee James style.

The record starts out pure blues covering "Crossroads", the likes of which you won't believe if you are thinking Robert Johnson. If he could hear this version today, a smile would come over his face. Next comes "I Ain't Superstitious", again nothing like Willie Dixon, but more traditional than Crossroads. Cee Cee's writing is showcased in the next three tunes, penned for the former and the upcoming studio album slated for a fall release. Crowd response says it all when you're talkin' music that touches the soul. Comparisons to Janis Joplin will never stop. Instead of fignting it, Cee Cee embraces it with a Janis tribute on the next two cuts, "Mercedes Benz" and "Bobby McGee". My very favorite Cee Cee James cover is Luther Allison's "House of the Blues". It's on this record, and it's worth the price of admission just to have this song.

Cee Cee James is a near term future national talent, and she is breaking out right now. Seriously Raw is a five star record.

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