When last we heard from Sunny Crownover, she was with the swingin' Joy Boys (here) and ably guided by Duke Robillard. Well, the Duke's still with her, but Sunny's switched from the Stony Plain label to Robillard's own Blue Duchess imprint, which means you get his axehandling all the way through this CD along with the rest of an octet, Sugar Ray Norcia guesting on harp. Sunny didn't just change up labels, though, she also made a rather noticeable left turn into soul, r&b, and contempo blues, settling into a slinkier smoother phase. This becomes really evident in the second cut, One Woman Man, a melodic, slo-burning, relaxed, torchy number with satiny work from Robillard and Sunny's own well modulated vocals, cool but direct and subtly smoldering.
Gary Nicholson makes a rather large contribution writing-wise here and steers several of the cuts toward a more distinctive chart sound, as in the title cut, but it's a Robillard piece, Roll Me, Daddy, that begins to pull some Maria Muldaur out of Crownover, with Warned, a Nicholson cut, following hard on its heels. Both songs revel in an eros that carries a lot of feel good, Roll Me just in and of itself, Warned trotting alongside for an equal measure of something that's not quite regret. Having a good time while being played for a body buddy with benefits in Warned, Sunny nonetheless wants another shot at it all and to hell with the consequences.
Needless to say, High Heels and Home Cookin' serves up more of the sexy edge of things harking back to Muldaur's old take on Glover & Mann's It Ain't the Meat, It's the Motion. The CD shuts down with a smoothly spikey version of Jon Tiven and Thomas Cain's Can't Let Go, a little more rockin', down South funky. Right Here is a definite change for course for Crownover, a good one, but ultimately one can't help but hope that the next release or perhaps the one after will see a setting back of the pendulum, coming to rest 'twixt this and the swing of the Joy Boys 'cause she was just as well invested there, too, and I'm sure gonna miss it if she doesn't glance back while moving forward.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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