The Strata-Tones review 04-23-12…

THE STRATA-TONES

DRESSED UP TO FESS UP

KEEP ON COOKIN’–BEBOP BABY–DID YOU EVER–LOVERS LOST AND FOUND–RAGGEDY ANNIE–THIS OLD HOUSE–TOGETHER FOR SOME TIME–TREAT YOUR WOMAN RIGHT–T W F S–BALL AND CHAIN (LIVE)

 

The Strata-Tones are another of the prolific number of blues bands in California, playing out of the Santa Barbara and San Luuis Obispo area.  They are fronted by Valerie Johnson on lead vocals, a dynamite singer with tremendous pipes and energy.  On their latest set, “Dressed Up To Fess Up”‘ they swing thru ten cuts, eight of which are band originals.

 

Backing Valerie are Bruce Kupnik on guitar, Kevin McCracken on harp, Ken Burton on keys, Will Anderson on bass, and Rick Pittman on drums.  The jumpin’ horn section was arranged and composed by Terry Lawless.

 

This set is full of that West Coast swing and jump blues sound, and this crew really knows what it’s all about!   The party starts with Val’s smokin’ read on a B. J. Thomas cover, “Keep On Cookin,” which tells us the best way to keep a man is to “keep that grease poppin’ in the pan!”  She flips it back to the fellows, reminding them exactly how to “Treat Your Woman Right!”  This one features a mighty funky backbeat, perfect for the dance floor!  There is excellent harp and piano work on the New Orleans-flavored tale of street-wise “Raggedy Annie,” a little girl who’ll do most anything you want!  On a more soulful note, Val tells us that “there’s plenty of broken hearts down at “The Lovers Lost And Found.”  And, there’s an ice-cold instrumental, done up Albert Collins-style, “T. W. F. S.”

 

We had two favorites, too.  Val paints a slyly-sexy portrait of fine, foxy females everywhere with the rockin’ “Bebop Baby!”  And, the sheer power of her voice is clearly evident in the electrifying set-closer,  Val’s tribute to Janis Joplin, a live version of “Ball And Chain.”

 

The Strata-Tones have taken traditional blues and given it a contemporary twist.  With a powerhouse vocalist and an irresistible backbeat that can’t be denied, enjoy “Dressed Up To Fess Up” tonight, and be sure to bring your dancin’ shoes!   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.

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One response to this post.

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