Size: 127,3 MB
Label: Self Released
Styles: Blues/Female Blues
1. Sweet Sweet Sweet Sweet - 3:46
2. Ms. Vicki's in Town - 5:07
3. Crazy 'bout My Baby - 4:27
4. Sweet Thang - 4:36
5. Big Room - 4:40
6. More Bluise Please - 7:01
7. Good Lovin' Tonight - 2:41
8. Last Call - 4:11
9. Kiss and a Hug - 6:09
10. Tell Me the Truth - 7:18
11. Bonus Track - 4:49
Soulful powerhouse vocals, soaring guitar virtuosity and solid lyrical songwriting makes The Vicki Stevens Band's debut album an instant and unique blues classic!
Ms. Vicki's Red-hot Blues (Review of her new CD, "Ms. Vicki's In Town") By Cory Frye, The Entertainer | Corvallis Gazette Times:
“MS. VICKI’S IN TOWN” heralds the cover marquee on The Vicki Stevens Band’s new CD, and that’s all the info you need. Jim Badalich’s beckoning bass bob throws the juke-joint doors wide open, and what pours loose, released from the stage, is a blues party smooth enough to guzzle from a broken glass.
Leading that sumptuous gait is the force for whom the group is named. Vicki Stevens, in the hallowed blues tradition, glows with indomitable confidence, like Big Mama Thornton and Muddy Waters before her. She’s larger than life itself, never bested, never beaten, and God help the fool who tries.
As a terribly wise soul once said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can pull it off,” and as a belter supreme, the charismatic Ms. Vicki not only pulls it off, she turns it on, throws it down, kicks it out, then brings it on home. The woman runneth over with the goods.
What’s most refreshing about this collection — celebrated with a 9 p.m. barnburner Friday, March 2, at the Calapooia Brewing Co. in Albany — is the preponderance of original material, much of it scripted by harmonica snooter Bill “Froggy” Hyland, whose Sunday afternoon ’Pooia jams yielded this magnificent brew in 2008.
Blues slingers have always been known to lean heavily on a century-old repertoire (though the blood’s always fresh, vintage be damned), more homage to an American form than a continuation with fresh perspectives on concerns eternal: lyin’, cheatin’, lovin’, hurtin’ — ingredients that keep both the heart and jukebox fed.
Who knows how many quarters would have fallen for “Crazy ’Bout My Baby,” written by Dennis Monroe, wrangling an itch from his guitar that can only be satisfied with contact of the deliriously unprintable kind. He opens the skies and drains the clouds as Badalich and drummer Ron Rocci cling to the bump ’n’ grind all night.
(It’s complemented later by a companion number of sorts, Micky Shannon-Monroe’s “Good Lovin’ Tonight,” where Froggy saws hard and Rocci attempts hyper-drive. Since Micky is Dennis’ wife — and a fine singer too — I’ll accept that “Good Lovin’” vouches for “Crazy,” and crazy good lovin’ is the best.)
Dennis truly unburdens on the powerful “More Bluise Please,” Froggy’s modern tale of an age-old terror: the abusive man-child with a hair-trigger backhand. “The first time you hit me,” Ms. Vicki recalls, “I fell to my knees.” By the tone in her voice, however, we know it won’t be a repeating cycle for long.
Monroe evokes her pain and confusion as well as her lover’s rage and capacity for violence. Rocci’s drumming is tense, shrouding this house in horror; together the instrumentalists pull the song to its inevitable conclusion, Stevens leading the way.
The man stumbles into a room and finds himself facing the vocal end of a loaded .44. We watch it all transpire. The trembling hands. The quivering lip. Glistening eyes a-twinkle with a cocktail of hate and love. Will she. Won’t she. No matter. He finds the whole thing comical. Her retort is wordless, the last he’ll ever hear. For everyone involved, the seven-minute song is a staggering narrative achievement.
Mostly, however, The Vicki Stevens Band is dedicated to the exhilaration of playing music and whipping crowds into disciples. “Sweet Sweet Sweet Sweet” may be missing an extra “sweet,” ’cause it’s that tasty-fine. It’s chased by the title track, complete with Monroe and Froggy workouts on a precision drive that supports Stevens’ claim, “Every place we play our tunes, they always want us back.”
Soon they’re destined for that “Big Room,” a dream venue massive enough to contain what they deliver. Froggy comes in so low-boil hot on harmonica, dropping to meet that Monroe snarl, that I destroyed the CD packaging looking for a keyboard credit (sucker eludes me still).
But it’s no match for the fuzzy shadows in which Froggy lurks on the rockenfunk-laden “Tell Me the Truth,” where a more confident Ms. Vicki has a mess-around well in hand, requiring only a .38-caliber B.S. detector to administer justice (“When you come home tonight / I’m gonna blow some holes in you”).
Come for the sonic diversity; stay for the epic solos. May we all have the blues this bad.
Ms. Vicki's In Town