You Can Hear Joanne Broh is Live on your Speakers

Artists seem to push out live albums with almost alarming regularity and, when they are relatively unknown, it can be a showcase for a band in full flight. On the other hand, it can also reveal shortcomings and the quality of the recording can also be suspect…well, I am pleased to say that this album by Joanne Broh and her band fits firmly in the first category. She is from Eugene in the state of Oregon and Live was recorded there at Mac’s Nightclub & Restaurant. She has put together a set of eleven songs and, inevitably, with only one studio offering to pull from, mixes originals and covers that travel through blues with jazzy influences.

The show starts with a composition by guest harp player, Walter Herleman, and it immediately shows that the producer certainly had everything mic’d up properly so we can enjoy the neat slide guitar as well as the harp and, of course, Joanne’s well pitched vocals. The second song, Wicked Cool, is the title track from the band’s studio album and is a rapid shuffle with more subtle harp and great snare play. The guitar solo is equally subtle and has a good tone and fluidity. The first real cover is next and comes from the catalogue of Bessie Smith. Kitchen Man is true to the original but with the guitars brining it up to date with the gentle strumming and Joanne phrases the double entendres with tongue firmly in cheek…not literally of course! The guitar solos and duet are again modern and fitting. If you ever doubted the mucky humour that abounds in early blues, then the verse about eating doughnuts should convince! Blues Got Hold of My Head ups the pace with a bluesy slice of R’n’B that will get the toe tapping. A Kansas Joe McCoy song crops up next; Peggy Lee made Why Don’t You Do It Right her own and Joanne does a sterling job of transferring the ethos of the original to this slightly funereal paced song. It is a delightful interpretation by the entire band. Let’s Work On It is my current favourite due to the brilliant slide and picked solos and backing from the guitarists. It may follow some well-trodden paths in the structure, but it is most definitely a lot of fun. We get all funky for Bobby Bland’s I Ain’t Doing Too Bad where, again, the band put their own stamp on it. Fall In Love slows things down again and they deliver a lovely, pure serving of soulful blues with the slightest hint of jazz lounge thrown in. Wig Chalet is not, as I feared, pointed at me and my shiny pate, but is a humerous story of the composer’s vision of choosing from a bewildering choice of wigs. The composer is Kansas born vocalist Kelley Hunt…someone I was unaware of until I heard her stunning contribution to Duke Robbillard and His Dames of Rhythm release. Joanne takes this neat song from Kelley’s Beautiful Bones album and stays true to the original. A much older cover is next with Hop Wilson’s brilliant Black Cat Bone…significant enough of a song that Paul Kossoff’s pre-Free band was called just that. There is even a very slight Kossoff feel to the guitar intro…it is a hell of good song and Joanne and the band do a very good version and the guitar and bass work is a real treat. The set wraps up with another classic from the pen of Willie Dixon; I Don’t Care Who Knows is interpreted just right…the guitars are obviously modern but they evoke the time and feeling of the original.

This is a very enjoyable album…OK, it won’t set the world alight, but is proficient, thoughtful and captures a band sharing an obvious love of music with a receptive audience. It also shows a band that is capable of much more and I look forward to their next studio offering.

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track listing:

  1. Stand Back
  2. Wicked Cool
  3. Kitchen Man
  4. Blues Got A Hold Of My Head
  5. Why Don’t You Do Right
  6. Let’s Work On It
  7. Ain’t Doin’ Too Bad
  8. Fall In Love
  9. Wig Chalet
  10. Black Cat Bone
  11. I Don’t Care Who Knows

Musicians:

Joanne Broh: vocals

Jerry Zybach: guitar

Garry Meziere: guitar

Bill Foss: bass

Ed Pierce: drums

Walter Herleman: harmonica

Recorded by Stan Welsh live at Mac’s Restaurant and Nightclub “Home of the Blues”, Eugene, Oregon.

Co-produced, edited, and mixed by Lance Seiders and Stan Welsh.

You Can Hear Joanne Broh is Live on your Speakers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.