JJ Thames review…January 31, 2014…

JJ THAMES

TELL YOU WHAT I KNOW

DECHAMP RECORDS  DC 100214

SOULED OUT–HEY YOU–I GOT WHAT YOU NEED–MY KINDA MAN–NO TURNING BACK–CAN YOU LET SOMEBODY ELSE BE STRONG–I’M A MAKE IT–I BELIEVE–JUST ENOUGH–RHINESTONES–TELL YOU WHAT I KNOW

JJ Thames has all the ingredients—killer good looks and a voice to match,  and the passion for her music that keeps everything real.  Raised in a Detroit, blue-collar, General Motors-driven household, she began singing early on, and is trained in classical, jazz, and blues.  She took her first leap of faith at eighteen by moving to Jackson, MS, honing her chops by traveling with the likes of Marvin Sease and Denise LaSalle, and further broadened her horizons by singing back-up for rock and reggae bands such as 311 and The (English) Beat.

That’s the impressive thing about her debut for Dechamp Records, “Tell You What I Know.”  Her diversity coupled with her outstanding vocal abilities make this ten originals and one cover set a delightful mix of down-home blues, soul, and a touch of gospel that is reminiscent of Seventies Stax

Check out “My Kinda Man.”  Over a midtempo groove, she tells everyone that, even tho he might not be rich, he “works hard with his hands, loves his mama, and takes good care of me.”  She offers a slice of comforting blues for “when you’re feeling tired and uninspired,” with the sweeping balladry of “Can You Let Somebody Else Be Strong?”

Her days on the chitlin circuit taught her plenty about bringin’ the sass and the funk, too.  Label head Grady Champion adds a mean harp over the grindin’ beat of “Hey You,” and she blows the lid off the stop-time Ray Charles classic, “I Believe To My Soul.”  The set closes with her autobiographical title cut of the long path she has taken to get to where she’s at today.

We had two favorites, too.  The gospel call-and-response inflections of “Souled Out” show both the power and depth of her voice, while she plays the part of a tough woman who gives a dog of a lover the boot and swears “I’m A Make It,” with a funky harp chorus from Grady.

With the title cut already creating a buzz on the Billboard charts, JJ Thames and “Tell You What I Know” is as funky as a ride in that big ‘ol deuce and a quarter!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Betsie Brown on February 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Thanks guys! JJ’ll be thrilled!

    Reply

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