Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Denise Lasalle's Regal Soul-Blues

After years recording for Malaco, Denise LaSalle has a new album on Ecko titled Still theQueen. On the opening title track, I’m Still the Queen, she tells the pretenders to the soul-blues throne that she is back, “I’m the Queen,you are not even in the game,” and to the young blues mamas trying to take her place, “give it up,you’re not even in the race.”

Her fans will know what to expect as she is not only a strong confident singer but a terrific songwriter who contributed most of the songs. Whether singing about leaving the party cause she’s got a Dirty, Freaky Man waiting for her, or telling another woman that she shouldn’t have bragged about her good her lover was if she did not want anyone else know cause she’s the best man Denise has ever had on You Should Have Kept It in the Bedroom, she certainly takes command of the listener’s attention.

At the same time, she can sing about the heartbreak of some relationships as on What Kind of Man is This, where the man she loves is running around with others and yet she loves him and can’t leave him despite the pain he causes her. This is one several tracks that make real good use of backing vocals and employs a solid rhythm section which includes guitarist Michael Toles. If the horn sounds are produced by synthesized keyboards, then whoever did it did a real fine job of having his keyboards mimic horn players.

Unlovable Habits has a terrific lyric as Denise tells her man if she wants to leave her for the woman from better side of the tracks that she won’t get in his way but will she put up with his unlovable promises, the funky smelly feet, will she wait when he doesn’t come home at all, the way he puts his clothes on the floor.The album closes with There’s No Separation, a plea to have Christian prayer mandated in public schools, that I find simple minded and wrong. Fortunately it is the last track so one can skip it easily. Whether Denise Lasalle is Still the Queen or not, this is a nicely done disc.

This review appeared in the April 2003 DC Blues Calendar, then the DC Blues Society’s newsletter. I may have purchased this CD.

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