Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Janet Ryan -- "Mama Soul"

Two things before I get started--first, I apologize to you, dear readers, for not posting any reviews for the entire month of August. I am now so far behind that I can never die. I fear I may never catch up, but let's get busy and see what happens. Second, and this really needs to be said, I am tremendously grateful to the promotions people. The fact that I have about 30 cds waiting to get reviewed is a great testimony to those of you who continue to believe in me.

Ok, enough about me. Let's talk about Janet Ryan's latest release "Mama Soul." On this cd she sings the blues just right, like the great soulful blues singers she learned from as a teenager in Chicago. Over the years on the road Janet and her band, Straight Up, played all over the East Coast--and now, as of August 2012, she has landed in Texas. This cd is from CSP Records, and is mostly produced by Jimmy Rogers & Paul Osborn. THe cd was mostly recorded in Garland Texas. Here her band includes Ray Chaput on guitar, Dennis LeBeau on bass, Joe Elliott on keyboards, and Billy Klock on drums. Several tracks feature members of the Dallas-based band Crosscut: Jerry Sartain on guitar, Terry Vieregge on bass, Chuck Mabrey on keyboards, and LaVell Jones on drums. (Crosscut has a new cd out too, but I haven't heard it yet.) Several songs feature horns, which are used to good effect. Five of the songs are written by Ryan and the rest by members of the band with one exception--a fabulous cover of Sippie Wallace's "Woman Be Wise," which features terrific piano by Joe Elliott.

But the best thing about this fine disc is Ryan's singing, which is awesome throughout. Her voice can belt the blues when that is needed, and she has a soulful croon when she needs it. I especially like "Mr Misery," on which Ryan's vocals tell a powerful story over great organ work by Chuck Mabrey and a really strong guitar (one of the best solos I've heard this year) by Jerry Sartain. Other great songs include "What Was I Thinking," with great horn work, and "He Burned That Bridge," with sweet piano by Mabrey and fine trumpet by Steve Howard.

Mama Soul is an apt title for this release. Janet Ryan belongs near the top of female blues singers out there. You can buy this cd at csprecords.com