Patti Parks review…February 28, 2014…





Patti Parks has won the Best Female Blues Vocalst from the Buffalo blues society in both 2012 and 2013, and it is very easy to see why.  She’s a dynamite package of talent and beauty, and has one of those voices that simply commands your attention.  She has just released her debut, “Cheat ‘N Man,” and these nine originals show not only the scope of her voice but her ability to handle different styles with ease.

Patti was always encouraged by her parents to explore her musical side, which started when she was a mere six years old, wandering off from a family event to sing and dance for a group of complete strangers at a wedding.  She has come a long way with her music, and this set is bound to get her noticed everywhere!

Patti is joined by a high-energy group of backing players, including a full horn section that gives these cuts a boost that dancers will love.  The party starts off with the jump of “Baby Don’t You Know,” and then she segues’ into a sultry-smooth, torchy cut, “Happy You’re Mine.”  Her autobiography plays out over the minor-key “What I Had To Do,” name-checking Ol’ Blue Eyes and Sammy Davis, Jr., as influences.  And, she turns in one of the album’s most powerful performances of a song that is a departure from the jump and blues of the rest of the set.  It is a touching tribute not only to her late “Mama,” but to all the moms everywhere.  She poignantly  describes her mother’s soothing words of encouragement throughout her life, especially, “don’t forget to pray” and “don’t be afraid.”

We had two other favorites, too, both in the bluesier vein.  She engages in a way-cool “discussion” with Charles Buffamonte’s guitar in the story of a man who just keeps on doing her wrong, “It Ain’t Right.”  And, the title cut bumps and grinds over Patti’s rowdy, partly spoken-word vocal as she flat out tells her “Cheat  ‘N Man” that  “I’m not gonna put up with you!”

Bold and brassy, sultry and sexy are just a few of the adjectives one can use to ddescribe Patti Parks’ explosive voice, and she’s teamed up with session cats that bring out all her best qualities.  “Cheat ‘N Man” is an excellent debut from a definite up-and-coming talent!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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