Originally from Houston Texas, vocalist Teresa James makes her base in Los Angeles where she works with her band, The Rhythm Tramps who she has been working with for several years. James has performed live with such legendary artists as Levon Helm, Delbert McClinton, Bonnie Raitt, Kirk Whalum, Marcia Ball, Tommy Castro, Al Anderson, Asleep at the Wheel, and Lee Roy Parnell as well as having been a featured act on Delbert McClinton's Sandy Beaches Blues Cruise. James’s band, the Rhythm Tramps consists bassist Terry Wilson; guitarist Billy Watts; drummer Harman Matthews and percussionist Debra Dopkin. She has had a number of well-regarded albums, with the latest being Come On Home (Jesi-Lu Records).
The title track sets the pace with the rock-solid groove as she displays a take no nonsense attitude about the man who should take his sorry ass, lazy bones home. Its followed by her duet with Finnigan, a nice cover of Etta James & Harvey Fuqua’s soulful If I Can’t Have You, where both invest so much into their singing. The swamp-country soul of My Baby Knows What I Want, celebrates her man who holds her tenderly and knows what good loving is all about. It is followed by the rock and roll of Tommy Kay’s Long Way From Texas, with Cleary adding rollicking piano.
Wilson’s Forgetting You, is a fine southern soul styled ballad with nice use of horns to frame her heartfelt vocal. There is more R&B flavor on Still Got the Message, with echoes of the Hi Rhythm Section while She’s Got a Way With Men (which she co-wrote with Wilson), conjures up classic Motown. Voodoo Doll, with Jackson’s accordion, adds some New Orleans flavor. On Carry That Burden, James sings with considerable restraint. It speaks to how good a singer she is that her performance on this is as authoritative as when she belts out a rocker like I Can Do Better.
Come On Home, is a first-class recording that makes clear why folks like Bonnie Raitt, Kirk Whalum and Delbert McClinton are admirers of Teresa James.
I received a review copy from a publicist for this release. Here is Teresa James and the Rhythm Tramps in performance.