FAME Review: Cathy Lemons - Black Crow
Cathy Lemons - Black Crow

Black Crow

Cathy Lemons

Vizztone - VT CL 01 634457647022

Available from the Vizztone online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Cathy Lemons sings the blues, but they're of a style that collided with soul and, after the dust settled, both parties decided not only not to sue but instead to adjourn to the nearest bar, toss back a few, and get down to business. A lot of comparisons are being made to a female John Lee Hooker and such, but they're off base. She's much more in a lineage with Bonnie Bramlett, Tracy Nelson, Genya Ravan, and others…with Gladys Knight's smooth delivery. And you know what happens when Gladys sings the blues, don't you? Men melt. So, guys, best you listen to this without using your ears. Don't ask me how, hell if I know, but yer goners if you do. There's more to seduction than the sirens of legend were able to summon. The difference? Lemons is intelligent, her own woman, not some goofy-ass mermaid waiting upon the will of Poseidon. She knows what you really need.

There's also a fair amount of Motown sieved through Bob Seger and some of the more soulful rockers in parts of Black Crow. The title cut is kindred to Bob's Turn the Page in its own fashion while taking a few cues from Joni by way of Janis in an unusually reflective mood. Ah, but it's followed by the boogying Hip Check Man, written by Lemons herself and classic right from the downbeat. Guitarist Steve Gurr gets in some tasty Duke Robillardy licks as the cut struts and strides, then lays back into You're in my Town Now with early period Alvin Lee styled blues tech as Lemons warns the mean-messers and a-holes to watch their backs (and fronts, too!).

Lemons doesn't have to stomp and shout, as righteous as that mode is, 'cause she gets just as much across with subtlety and nuance. Slinky and svelte but with veiled claws beneath the purring and the raven tresses, she ain't exactly innocent to the ways of the world. That's more than evident in her lyrics, so mind your manners and act your age, y'hear? And, yo, wanna hear some cowboy blues gee-tar as well, Slim? Whaaaat?!?! You think it don't exist no mo'? Well, Gurr takes it straight off the mesquite in It All Went Down the Drain, serving everything up with a side of prairie dog soufflé and cactus cooler. Mmmm-mm, good, no matter where you set the needle down…or the laser light (man, I reeally gotta get out of the Jurassic one of these days!).

Track List:

  • I'm a Good Woman (Kim Wilson)
  • Ain't Gonna Do it (Kiernan Kane)
  • Black Crow (Lemons / Gurr)
  • Hip Check Man (Cathy Lemons)
  • You're in My Town Now (Cathy Lemons)
  • It All Went Down the Drain (Earl King Johnson)
  • The Big Payback (Brown / Straks / Wesley)
  • I'm Going to Try (Cathy Lemons)
  • Texas Shuffle (Cathy Lemons)
  • The Devil Has Blue Eyes (Cathy Lemons)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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