Deborah Coleman burst into the blues with her 1994 debut release, Takin' A Stand, and has been conquering territory, vanquishing critics, and rising in blues stature since. Subsequent releases; I Can't Lose, Where Blues Began, and last year's Soft Place To Fall have helped to shower her with awards and more critically supportive press. The obvious talent base, from which she works as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, further makes this another dynamite release.
Deborah's vocals and guitar action are bridged by a fine support group including Billy Crawford on second guitar, Marty Binder on the drums, and Debra 'Nardi' Salyer on the bass guitar. Guest labelmate Jimmy Thackery assists with his guitar on three tracks, and Al Gamble's piano tones are heard on one cut. Reba Russell shares the background vocal chores with Coleman as well. At the production chair is the artist-enlightening Jim Gaines.
Coleman has musical mentors from Chrissie Hynde to Memphis Minnie and Jimi Hendrix to Freddie King, allowing her to sit on that fence between rock and blues. She is a Les Paul slinger who generates blinding solo speed and agility while alternately squeezing every note for its worth. Her voice is one that increasingly grows into and bends toward the music, rooting her confidence firmly. This all contributes to making this very comfortable material for her; the set combines six self-penned originals with covers from Lowell Fulson, Mo Rodgers, John Ward, and others.
The rock solid opening title tune seeks to establish a hardened and driven beat from the start. The aggravated bass lines of "You're With Me" follows; giving Coleman room to lay down some tender lyrics and rhythm lines. Stretching out on the solo, she engagingly comes down with a fluent notation. "Light Of Day" likewise allows brilliant phrasings and rhythmic elegance. Her "Memory Lane" stretches out with a romantic balladry and musical composition that is beautifully magnificent. This biscuit has all the features; poignant lyricism, emotive vocals, commanding axe work, and power rhythms in support. This will surely enhance her continued volcanic rise to the top of the blues world; contemporary award material on this plate.
Blind Pig Records; P.O. Box 2344; San Francisco, CA 94126: or, www.blindpigrecords.com
This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark A. Cole, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.