Carolyn Gaines review….August 14, 2019….

CAROLYN GAINES

THE THRILL IS GONE

POLKA DOT RECORDS

DAMN RIGHT I GOT THE BLUES–DEEP MOANIN BLUES–I GOT DREAMS TO REMEMBER–GOD BLESS THE CHILD–GUESS WHAT–HEY JOE–I GOT MY MOJO WORKING–I’D RATHER GO BLIND–RED HOUSE–STORMY MONDAY–SWEET HOME CHICAGO–THE THRILL IS GONE

Over the last few weeks, we have had the great pleasure to review new releases from some absolute blues royalty.  These include new sets from Bobby Rush, Delbert McClinton, and Vaneese Thomas, and now we have the latest from Carolyn Gaines, “The Thrill Is Gone,” for Polka Dot Records, the label name a cool nod to one of her mentors, Buddy Guy.

The cuts herein are songs that pretty much all blues fans know by heart, and Carolyn sings ’em all with a sincere, down-home passion and conviction.  Her vocal style, oft compared to Big Mama Thornton, is full of bobs and weaves, twists and turns, and snarls and growls, just like the greats such as Big Mama and Ma Rainey did.  She also does a bit of jazzy scat-singing, reminiscent of Billie Holiday.  Carolyn’s uncle, the legendary Grady Gaines, Sr. is on sax, as is his son, Grady Jr.  Buddy Guy’s guitarist, Ric Jaz, is here, as is Gino Baronelli, with Curtis Sherman on piano, Glen Doll on harp, and Moe Bleek on organ.

One of the cool things about this set is the fact that the arrangements are sparse, and the backing players step back and let her incredible voice just do its thang!  She so admires Buddy Guy that she covers two of his songs, the opening “Damn Right I Got The Blues,” and a classic “I smell a rat” tune,  “Guess What,” with Gino’s guitar holding things together.  The set closes with her ode to another mentor, B. B.’s iconic “The Thrill Is Gone.”

We had three other favorites, too.  Glen Doll’s harp adds the spice as our girl confronts “Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that gun in your hand?”  She gets downright sanctified with the testifyin’ “I Got Dreams To Remember,” and again on a soul-stirring take on Billie’s “God Bless The Child,” with Grady, Jr., on sax and Ric Jaz on guitar.

Carolyn Gaines’ tireless work within the Los Angeles Public School System, with her Blues In The Schools program, has been recognized by the Los Angeles City Council, members of the U. S. Congress, and First Lady Michelle Obama.  She gives of herself to keep the blues alive, and pays a great tribute to many of her inspirations  with “The Thrill Is Gone.”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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One response to this post.

  1. Wonderful!!!! Thanks

    Reply

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