Mickey Champion is a Louisiana-born transplant to Los Angeles who is reportedly one of the West Coast's best kept blues secrets. Discovered by musical legend Johnny Otis at a 1950's talent show, Champion has opened for or performed with some big time acts in both jazz and blues including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Albert King, Ruth Brown and Johnny Adams.
Mickey Champion is definitely "old school" blues and that is clearly reflected in her dbut recording on TONDEF Records, What You Want. In today's modern blues world where Stevie Ray clones are billed as the "next big thing" and every young guitar slinger is hyped to death, Mickey Champion stands directly behind her talents as a vocalist, open and clear for all to see. On What You Want, Champion offers the listener some straight ahead old style blues, reflecting a time when the vocals were the most important part of a well-crafted song, not the slash and burn guitar, screaming harp or blistering piano. Champion demonstrates her versatility throughout the recording, showing that she can grind out the funk with the best of them, while showing her stuff as a torch singer, a swing vocalist and an elegant mistress of smooth sound.
What You Want offers covers that range from the Memphis-style blues of B. B. King ("Woke Up This Morning"), to Percy Mayfield's R+B ("Please Send Me Someone To Love"),Aretha Franklin soul ("Dr. Feelgood") and even a Lieber & Stoller nugget ("Lovin' Jim"). Also of note is the fine version of Big Mama Thorton's, "Ball and Chain," characterized by its stark simplicity. The CD opens with her own composition, "I'm A Woman," with an autobiographical feel and includes three other previously unrecorded tunes by Producer, Jonathan Hodges ("What You Want") and/or Kevin Moore (yes, Keb' Mo')("My Little Boy Blue") and/or Jon & Sally Tiven ("All You Got To Do"). The back-up musicians are solid and unobtrusive throughout What You Want, allowing Champion to maintain center stage throughout the recording. As an added bonus, Keb' Mo' sits in on "My Little Boy Blue," offering up some nice slide guitar.
If you like classic style blues from an age when the vocalist was the center of attention for listeners, pick up a copy of What You Want. To learn more about Mickey Champion, visit her website at www.mickeychampion.com.
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