BLUE PEARL RECORDS
BIG LOVE–I KEEP THINGS RUNNING–SHACKIN’ UP–I AM FAMILY–SWEET FEELING–BORN TO LOVE YOU–SEVEN STATES AWAY–WAY DOWN IN THE HOLE–STEP BACK–YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR MIND–CRAZY ‘BOUT YOU BABY–SLOW AS MOLASSES, SWEET AS HONEY–I BEEN HOODOOD
It’s been just about five years since Philly-based lady of the blues Deb Callahan’s last CD, “Tell It Like It Is.” During that time, she became a new mom to her now four-year old son, Elijah, to whom she dedicates her latest set, “Sweet Soul,” on the Blue Pearl label. There is a good mix of originals and covers that all fit the theme of how her life has changed since the birth of her son. The songs deal with juggling careers, being a mother, and the general daily push just to keep things together. The songs come from this sweet period in her life, (thus the set’s title), and keep a generally upbeat, funky tone.
Her dedications and testimonials to love are varied throughout this set. “Big Love” leads off, as Deb feels as if she’s been “taken to a new place I’ve never been,” set over a funky groove. Johnny Lee Schell adds slide guitar on the tale of mistakes one can make in the love game throughout their life, where “Shackin’ Up ain’t all it’s cracked up to be!” Another of Deb’s and Allen James’ originals is a poignant tale of sometimes having to dole out a dose of tough love to those we love the most, “I Am Family.”
Lies and mistrust in a relationship are killers, too, as is evidenced in Deb’s cover of David Egan and Buddy Flett’s “You Don’t Know Your Mind.” And, the set closes with the voodoo of Dr. John’s “I Been Hoodood,” with Allen’s wah-wah pedal blazing a swampy trail over Deb’s vocal.
We had three favorites, too. Deb’s declaration of independence is set forth in the strut of “I Keep Things Running–I’m a thorough-assed female!” While at a gig n Tallahassee, Deb only has her lover on her mind, and can’t wait to drive back home, which is “Seven States Away.” This one morphs into a modern-day “Route 66” as she drives home from state to state! And, Deb reminds us all to “walk with Jesus, and keep the Devil Way Down In The Hole.”
Deb Callahan possesses a powerful, soulful voice with just the right balance of grace and grit. She’s a “Sweet Soul,” inded! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.