Shirley King is known for her high energy performances. That energy is captured on her debut CD appropriately titled Daughter of the Blues. Shirley is of course the daughter of the king of the blues, B.B. King and is known as "Ambassador of the Blues". She has a passion to ensure the blues survive. So, she actively teaches blues to elementary and high school students via the Blues In The Schools programs.
The name of the CD implies being a member of the modern generation of the blues or new bluesbloods. Interesting then that she chooses to cover a bunch of blues standards instead of new, original material. Nonetheless, she does a fine job of breathing new life into timeless tunes such as: "Got My Mojo Working", "Rock Me Baby", "Everyday I Have The Blues", "Wang Dang Doodle" and "Sweet Home Chicago". Not exactly a song selection that will be attractive to blues scene veterans but is sure to appeal to blues newbies.
Shirley chose an amazing band of Chicago based musicians to back her on the CD. The most outstanding, without a doubt, being Big James Montgomery (trombone) and Charlie Kimble (saxophone). Together they blow enough horn to support a Broadway musical. Just listen to them wail on "Love of Mine". They are members of the popular Chicago ensemble known as Big James and the Chicago Playboys.
Things gets soulfully funky on "Last Two Dollars" with its sung straight from the heart lyrics. Then all of a sudden you are dropped into the middle of a house rockin party on "Tell Mama". That tune is chalk full of the spontaneity of a live Shirley King performance. Listen as she nicely segues into "Midnight Hour".
Some songs just shouldn't be covered. Take her fathers staple tune "The Thrill Is Gone". Here Shirley tries unsuccessfully to covert it to a big band sound. The 14 track, 60 minute disc features only 1 original tune written by King. That tune "Aggravation" is a catchy, funky number which leaves you wondering why she didn't include more.
King really knows how to move and entertain an audience. Onstage she is totally spontaneous and thanks to the CD being recorded live in the studio, all that magic is captured here. She has a rough, powerful voice that leads and guides you through each tune.
For CDs, booking and information, contact: Diva Records, PO Box 25452, Chicago, IL, 60625-0452
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tim Holek, 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.
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