Last time out, with Just As I Am (here), we discovered that Sandy Carroll not only brought the funk, the blues, and the soul, but had a witty sense of humor amid sometimes tart, sometimes poignant, oft sensual, and every once in an while even blowsy vocals. Unnaturally Blonde continues that tradition and this time tosses in a bit of rockified reggae, bluesed-up folk, and various other wrinkles. Husband Jim Gaines again produced, engineered, and mixed the CD, getting back into that intimate midnight milieu, Superman Blues perhaps the most interesting example (with Will McFarlane's slide edging things over into the evilly delicious side of the clockstroke).
Good to be Home grabs the balladry slot this time out, a laconically positive slant on what occurs in parting from the familiar, taking nothing for granted but not meandering about entirely cynical either, emotions caught up in the problems of leaving and returning minus any sense of goopiness or fairy-tale simplicity. The heavy blues cut this time is Somebody Got to Pay but the closer, a stripped-down duet between voice and guitar, Waltzing to Sunset (Pappy's Song), is a tribute to Gaines' father, Pappy Gaines, but also to Carroll's, and to all fathers everywhere, a soft lullabye-ish track.
Carroll's not exactly unknown among pros nor ignored. In 2008, she was awarded her own brass note on Memphis' Beale Street, formally placed in front of the Hard Rock Cafe in 2010, the South's musical version of Hollywood's Starwalk. She's earned her stripes and, speaking of Hollywood, the title cut sounds just like a track from Ry Cooder's Bop 'Til You Drop (with the hilarious Down in Hollywood), smooth, snappy, and tart, friendly but gossipy, the sort of thing said over the backyard fence with a lop-sided smile and a wink.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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