The Toughest Girl Alive is the latest recording by sex queen-turned singer, Candye Kane. Having established herself as the "big and beautiful" legend in the sex industry during the 1980's, Kane has spend approximately the last ten years establishing herself as a singer and songwriter. Billed now by many as the "Queen of Swing," Candye has overcome numerous obstacles to become the accomplished singer that she demonstrates herself to be on "The Toughest Girl Alive."
The Toughest Girl Alive is Candye's first recording for Bullseye Blues and Jazz and her fifth recording overall, beginning with her independent release "Burlesque Swing" in 1992. Known for her captivating and entertaining stage performances, The Toughest Girl Alive firmly demonstrates that she is an excellent singer who needs no gimmicks or hooks to capture her audience. Every song on The Toughest Girl Alive is musical, well put together and truly entertaining listening, especially for anyone who proclaims themselves to be fans of swing and jump blues.
Along with a tight band that includes guitarist Dave Alvin, pianist Marcia Ball and bassist Larry Taylor, Kane puts together lyrics that touch on topics that almost no on else in the blues seems to be willing to take on. Although most blues fans will point out the suggestive, and even blatant, sexuality of the songs written and performed by blues artists like Robert Johnson, Clarence Carter and Chick Willis, none rival the openness of Candye Kane. On The Toughest Girl Alive she mentions and sings about a diversity of sexual preferences, techniques and persuasions. She even makes reference to the preferences of President of the United States with her lyric, "I'm a White House intern for your love," on the song "For Your Love." The songs contain no foul language, but are very clear on the topic she is singing about at any given time; making the CD far more appealing to most listeners than many rap or rock songs where four letter words and parental warnings seem to be the order of the day.
Nearly every song on the 13-cut CD discusses love and/or sex in various forms. Opening with the title track, "The Toughest Girl Alive," Kane sets an upbeat tone for the rest of the CD. It is safe to say that the first song will make you want to hear the rest, it is that good. Toughest Girl is followed by the equally entertaining, "Who Do You Love?" (Not to be mistaken by the Bo Diddley song of the same name), where Candye proclaims that love is good, no matter what form it takes or who it might be with. Other songs that will catch your ear, and your interest, include the previously mentioned "For Your Love," the suspicious lover's lament, "Who Walks In When I Walk Out" and the hidden secrets portrayed in "(Hey Mister) She Was My Baby Last Night." Also of note are the open love anthem, "Let's Commit Adultery" and the up and down romance described in "Highway of Tears."
Possibly because of her storied background and open sexuality, Candye Kane has seemingly maintained a sort of cult figure status and a more limited following. This is really not fair to her, because she is a very talented singer and songwriter who deserves far better recognition that she has to date. Hopefully, thanks to Bullseye's bigger promotional resources and label recognition among blues fans, The Toughest Girl Alive will be Candye Kane's mainstream breakthrough CD. After the my first hearing of the CD and subsequent exposure, I am inclined to believe that she has earned the right to greater recognition by both casual and hard core blues fans. The Toughest Girl Alive can be found at your local record store or favorite e-tailer. You can also visit Candye's website at www.candyekane.com
This review is copyright © 2000 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, 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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