JJ Thames impressed on her debut recording "Tell You What I Know," where the Jackson Mississippi based vocalist impressed "as a singer who certainly can belt out a vocal, but displays a nuanced vocal approach and admirable vocal dynamics." "Raw Sugar," produced by Guitarist Eddie Cotton who also co-wrote the songs here (with one exception), is another recording that hopefully will get her better known among blues audiences.
Thames may have formal vocal training but her delivery here as on the earlier recording shows how natural she sounds starting with the opening gospel lament "Oh Lord" (that she penned herself) with Ben Hunter's mandolin and Cotton's guitar while the rollicking rock and roll of "Hattie Pearl" which comes across as a Ike and Tina styled rave-up. and followed by a brisk blues shuffle "I'm Leavin'," first thing in the morning as she has had enough of her man's lying and cheating with some nice idiomatic guitar from Cotton.
"Leftovers" is a southern soul gem in the vein of Barbara Carr with a nice vocal and illustrative of Cotton's production touches with the backing and keyboardist Darryl Sanford contributed to the arrangements. Another excellent track in this vein is the soulful ballad "Only Fool Was Me," while "Bad Man," takes us back in the alley with Cotton playing aggressively. The rest of "Raw Sugar" is equally interesting, making this another impressive recording by Ms. Thames.
I reeeived my review copy from a publicist. Here is JJ Thames in performance.