Being the youngest daughter of B.B. King might open some doors, but Claudette King certainly would have had people taken note of her talent in any respect. Dan Bacon at Blues Express was certainly taken with her vocals and in the late nineties started recording an album by her with guitarist Bobby Murray and others which was halted when Claudette’s mother was seriously ill. A couple years ago Bacon brought in Steve Savage to help with the project, and they redid the vocals for the earlier tracks as well as contact Dennis Walker and Alan Mirikitani to write new songs and help fill out the disc on a session that included veterans Jim Pugh on keyboards, Richard Cousins on bass and Lee Spath on drums with Mirikitani handling the guitar. The result is the new Blues Express disc, “We’re Into Something,” which showcases her vocals that mix blues and soul into a personal style that reminds me of Carla Thomas.
A couple of songs from the nineties session opens the disc with Tim Brockett’s “Can I Walk You To Your Car,” is a brassy shuffle with a hot guitar solo from Bobby Murray that is bookended by her seductive singing as she invites her baby to walk her to her car which is not too far. Walker and Mirikitani penned the soulful ballad “Too Little Too Late,” which Claudette delivers the lyric of her cheating man coming home and asking forgiveness that is a bit too late. “Playing With My Friends,” was originally done by Robert Cray and B.B. King, with Frankie Lee adding his impassioned singing to Claudette on a terrific rendition of this number with another choice solo from Murray. Another Walker-Mirikitani ballad, “This Ain’t How I Planned It,” has her sing about what she dreams of her man to be home at night, and in contrast her man claims to be working late and this ain’t how she planned it. “Rock My Soul,” is a Murray composition that Frankie Lee recorded around the same time. Not as much a shouter in her delivery as Lee is, her heartfelt singing gives her own performance on this a distinct and equally appealing character. “Isn’t Peace The Least We Can Do,” is a jazzy, gospel number with a nice tenor sax solo from Mike Vannice and followed by another poignant indigo ballad “Easier Alone,” where she includes some vocal gymnastics into the upper register in her delivery of the
According to Frank-John Hadley’s liner notes she did record a blues and country album in Europe that was available briefly, but for practical purposes in the United States this is a debut recording, and it is one that will have blues and soul fans take notice of a strong voice that will hopefully be enriching our ears for a long time.
This review has appeared in jazz & Blues Report. For purposes of FTC regulations, the review copy of the recording was provided by the record company or a publicist for the recording