JJ Thames delivers Raw Sugar
The second album needs to assert an artist place when a debut album is well received. JJ Thames does just that on Raw Sugar an album that is beguiling in its blues of many colours and shades. Raw Sugar, is strong blues delivered by the latest in a long line of strong blues women that stretches all the way back to MA Rainey and up to JJ Thames. We have blues that growls and purrs full of anger and love.
Opening with Oh Lord a spiritual that lifts your eyes and immediately your attention is gained. As the religious becomes secular with Hattie Pearl replete with Detriot soul-driven blues. Throughout the thirteen tracks the music picks up from the past, Chess, Stax and Bluebird Records whilst, at the same time JJ shapes the music into her own mould she borrows from the past but never blindly replicating.
There is an urgency as she tells us she is leaving, this is a woman who knows her own mind. When JJ asks Only Fool Was Me, we can relate to the hurt and sorrow that she builds vocally in this emotionally charged number. The singing is full of heartfelt emotional power that is reflected in the deep soulful saxophone. This is music that when heard live holds the audience and sends shivers down the spine.
Blues are strong in Bad Man with the guitar and keys pulling the chords to produce a clarity of tone that is a perfect foil to JJ Thames vocals as we hear about a Bad Man. He is bad and going to reap what he sows with the horns acting as the punctuation so that there is no doubt about his badness!
With the horns burning up the sound scape and the deep throaty beguiling vocals from JJ there is no need to sing Don’t Stop My Shine on this album that shimmers with gospel, soul enriched blues. The title track Raw Sugar, again it is the mix of orchestration and vocals that makes this album a mix of rawness that stops it being sickly sweet. One for a collection Raw Sugar, unrefined is definitely a keeper for your CD collection.
JJ Thames – Raw Sugar – Malaco Music Group
EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….
- Oh Lord (Featuring Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons)
- Hattie Pearl
- I’m Leavin’
- Woman Scorned
- Only Fool Was Me
- Bad Man
- Hold Me
- Don’t Sleep My Shine
- I Don’t Feel Nothing
- Plan B (Abortion Blues)
- Raw Sugar
- I Wanna Fall In Love