Blues singer Daunielle shares the Catfood label with James Armstrong (here) and others but comes from a bit grittier section of Bluestown. Armstrong's smooth as scotch and brandy where Daunielle is gin and tequila. They also share many of the same Catfood label house musicians, notably Dan Ferguson, a sly keyboardist who, in the very first cut (a GREAT version of Armstrong's Runaway Train) shows how damned deceptive and sophisticated he is, multi-tracking for a rich nighted atmosphere that perfectly offsets the pristine horn section. Credit producer Jim Gaines with a good deal of what's going on here as well, a savvy cat who knows how to bring the right people together. Daunielle's pedigree is traced right back to her father, William Brown of The Mad Lads, a Stax combo, and she obviously learned much at pop's feet. Early on, she too worked as a soul singer, but this CD demonstrates quite clearly that she's actually straight from the blues.
In fact, she reminds me quite a bit of Barbara Morrison, a local legend (Los Angeles) who sat in on Bernie Pearl's latest (here). Barbara and Daunielle have voices that make the listener perk up and go "Oh yeah! Damn! Sing it!"…to such a degree that, despite all the A-1 accompaniment, the spotlight is ever on Daunielle. She's not hogging it a bit, though, it's just that you can't keep this spirited a personality from always giving her best. She can't help herself. Catch the Taj Mahal-y Biloxi (co-written by bassist Bob Trenchard, a hidden gem in the Catfood firmament) and then skip over to her joyous rendering of the chestnut (Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher. Niiiiice!
Even though this is a debut disc, it's not at all the case that Daunielle's unknown. She's been in demand as a background vocalist for quite some time with Solomon Burke, Cee Cee James, Sandy Carroll, and Jackie Johnson, and most recently spent four years touring with Huey Lewis and The News. This studio splash into the deep end of the pool, though, comes off as a perfectly Olympic aggregate of constantly engaging tracks, and I suspect that very soon she'll be the one besieged with big names dying to sit in on her gigs rather than the other way around. As a first time effort, there's only one phrase for Daunielle: 'auspicious as hell'. And if she ever lets Ferguson slip away, we'll know she's out of her mind 'cause those two fit together like hand in glove, guitarist Johnny McGhee sweetening it all to the side.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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