I make no secret of my love for the Chicago-inspired school of dirty white blues, and as Cee Cee James calls her gig 'funky white girl music', I won't disagree for a moment. When she cranks up, James' voice is a blend of Janis Joplin, Genya Ravan, Maggie Bell, Darby Mills, and the grittier end of the wimmens' blooz spectrum—but really heavy on the Joplin influence—and, man, did she ever land the right guitar cat in Rob "Slideboy" Andrews. The guy wields a wickedly cool glass finger beautifully complemented by Rocky Athas' leads, lines that simultaneously contrast and harmonize with Andrews' pulsating rhythms.
In fact, it's Andrews' presence that makes for the music's unique booty-shaking qualities, expanding the rhythm section out impressively, interlocking with Dan Mohler's bass and Chris Leighton's drums while reaching towards Athas' axe, a constantly moving terrain atop which James is free to bounce, wail, and hold forth. However, she's just as at home in balladic crooning blues, as Comfort of a Good Heart demonstrates. Seriously, if you're looking for the woman to take up where Janis left off, this is one of very very few. More of Jan's kosmik bluez work, minus the horns, than Big Brother but still a nice bridge between, kinda like what Big Bro itself mighta done had JJ not OD'ed, dammit.
The icy cool of Wounds belies any least shred of its titular pain and, yow, does James ever know from silky smooth as well as uproarious and raucous. This slice will cool any fevered brow derived from the remainder of the disc, a balm that works through, slow and easy, until yer ready to face the burndown again. But she also swings and shimmies, seduces and soothes, a little bit of everything but mainly a lot of sass and fire. Whether the weather's too cool and needs a furnace, or too hot, requiring a fresh northern breeze, I suggest you keep Blood Red Blues handy. Just like the Boy Scouts, it's best to be prepared…though I'm not sure you're gonna be able to keep the troop down on the farm once they hear Cee Cee.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles