Monday, November 16, 2009

Chicago Blues: CD Review, Superhero

Candye Kane - Superhero (Delta Groove Music, 2009)
By Steve "Fly" Klein, Chicago Blues News

Kane is a powerful singer who belts out a song with the best of them. And you can hear her influences: Ruth Brown, Big Mama Thornton, Etta James, and Bessie Smith. This 2008 nominee for Best Contemporary Blues Female by the Blues Foundation, writes most of her material on this CD (some with the help of Laura Chavez).

The 15 songs presented here run through a gamut of blues styles: hard-driving urban blues, roots rock, early R&B and a jazzy barroom blues ("Don't Cry For Me New Jersey") that reminds me of Kurt Weill channeled through Norah Jones.

For you true blues fans, check out the up-tempo "Hey! Toughen Up!" and Willie Dixon's classic, "You Need Love." A real stand out is the killer guitar work of co-producer Laura Chavez. She really puts her Strat through its paces with a playing style that has a Texas blues flavor.

Kane sings the last song a cappella (a self-healing mantra called "I'm Going To Be Just Fine"). It recalls her life threatening situation in February 2008 when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Thinking she was a goner, she didn't believe she would ever record or do another live show again. Although her chances were slim, Kane went through treatment and incredibly was told she was cancer free a year later. Now she is back singing better than ever.

I really liked this CD. Candye Kane (her real name -- God love those parents from the 60s) is the real deal. She is a brassy, kickin' singer who lives up to the title "The Toughest Girl Alive."