Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nothin's Sweeter Than Candye

Candye Kane
White Trash Girl
Biography by Stewart Mason
A former stripper and men's magazine model who also did the occasional X-rated video shoot back in the '80s, Candye Kane would be the blues version of the Andrea True Connection, but for one vitally important fact: this woman can really sing! An updated version of Bessie Smith with a wicked sense of humor and a gleefully omnisexual persona, Candye Kane and her backup band the Swingin' Armadillos aren't just a novelty act, but a sassy, smart, and always-entertaining mix of sex, showbiz, and swing.
Los Angeles-native Kane started her musical career with 1994's spotty Home Cookin', but really hit her stride with 1995's Knockout and, especially, 1997's excellent Diva la Grande. The short-lived swing revival led to a major-label deal for 1998's Swango, but that cocktail-influenced swing record didn't give her jump blues brassiness its due, and when Sire gave Kane her walking papers, she settled in the far more hospitable environs of Rounder, which released the much improved The Toughest Girl Alive in 2000. Three years later, Kane released Whole Lotta Love, an album made available via Germany's Ruf Records.

2005's White Trash Girl, produced by WC Handy Award nominee Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff, included collaborations with Gary Primich, Preston Hubbard and Riley Osborn.
Review by Hal Horowitz
Candye Kane has never shied away from her lusty, busty persona either on album or live, but that very honestly must have unfairly tainted her as an act needing a sexy visual hook to attract an audience. Certainly that's far from the truth, as all of her albums have proven Kane to be a strong, distinctive, and malleable song stylist, with a hurricane-styled approach to her rollicking R&B. Her seventh release doesn't push those established boundaries, but it's another terrific example of Kane's talents. Only five of these 14 songs are not written or co-penned by the singer, and all are potent examples of her wide range and excitement as a singer/bandleader. There is some Lou Ann Barton in her sassy delivery, especially when she sings a ballad such as "I Could Fall for You" or kicks into a snazzy bluesy shuffle as on the cool, rearranged version of the Lovin' Spoonful's classic "Daydream." As usual, she surrounds herself with top-notch musicians such as ex-Fabulous Thunderbirds/Roomful of Blues bassist Preston Hubbard, harmonica ace Gary Primich, and veteran producer Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff. Hence, the album's sound is tight, punchy, and rollicking. Kicking off with the title cut, featuring a riff that is little more than a reworking of John Lee Hooker's "Dimples," Kane and her band charge through the material with a visceral energy perfect for this upbeat bluesy material. Some of the lyrical juxtapositions are strange; the raunchy one-two punch of sexual domination described in "Mistress Carmen" and the self-explanatory "Masturbation Blues" segues into an album-closing gospel version of "Let There Be Peace on Earth," the latter sung only with acoustic piano accompaniment. But that just makes the album more fun. A bawdy cover of Bull Moose Jackson's "Big Fat Mamas Are Back in Style" fits with Kane's heavy-set, white-trash aesthetic and also roars out with enough jump-swing energy to get the party moving. The melodies are little more than standard blues and swing reworkings, but the execution is so consistently frisky, spirited, and entertaining that it's impossible not to be impressed by this lighthearted romp from one of the genre's most unfairly overlooked singers.

1 White Trash Girl
2 Estrogen Bomb
3 What Happened to the Girl
4 Daydream
5 Big Fat Mamas Are Back in Style
6 Queen of the Wrecking Ball
7 Misunderstood
8 I Wanna Do More
9 It Must Be Love
10 Work What You Got
11 I Could Fall for You
12 Mistress Carmen
13 Masturbation Blues
14 Let There Be Peace on Earth


Mredondo said...

Anything with "White Trash", beer, trailers and porn kinda calls out to me!!

Thanks T