VEE ALLEN  -  Bluesin’ In The Big Easy

Leland Productions (US) no #

Big Easy Blues (pts.1&2); Source Of Comfort; Everything But What I Want; Don’t Ask Me To Let You Go; Talk To Me; Candy; Sunday Kind Of Love; Time After Time

In 2007, Vee Allen took her first foray into the recording studio for some twenty-three years, the result being the critically acclaimed ‘Woman Enough’ album, reviewed in ‘In The Basement’ #48.  It spurred her into continuing such ventures and now we have ‘Bluesin’ In The Big Easy’ which has been some time in gestation and began some years back in Seattle, Washington, during a jam session with her friends, Dr. John & the Lower 911 Band.  Thus was born the two-part ‘Big Easy Blues’ which opens the new set here, described by Vee in the liners as “...really a blues jam with me singing blues songs while the band played whatever they felt, led by Mac’s keyboard and David Barard’s funky bass... Mac’s tinkling the upper register keys made me think of water and inspired me to write to the well-known adage ‘You don’t miss your water ‘til your well runs dry’.”  With the guys on hand, Vee also added some of her favourite songs: a delicious take on Joe Seneca’s ‘Talk To Me’, going right back to 1944 for ‘Candy’, here a slow roller where (as on all the collaborations) the feel is very much that of all the participants thoroughly enjoying themselves - horn work, incidentally, being provided by Mark Kieme - a warm treatment of ‘Sunday Kind Of Love’ and Sammy Cahn’s ‘Time After Time’, taken in a jazz-meets-the-blues manner, with Rebennack’s piano very much to the fore.  Sadly, before Vee could add any more tracks, Dr. John and the Lower 911 Band parted company but, with band members David Barard and guitarist, John Fohl, having played on the ‘Woman Enough’ sessions, she opted to reprise three tracks from that set to round out this whole.  Consequently, we welcome back a trio of her own co-compositions: ‘Source Of Comfort’, a midtempo toe-tapper with rolling instrumental back-up, ‘Everything But What I Want’, a tender, sax-supported ballad and the very strong, tuneful ‘Don’t Ask Me To Let You Go’, with background vocals provided (as on the previously mentioned couple of numbers) by David Barard and Cossetta Taylor.  It’s good to have Vee Allen back once again - she is in fine voice throughout and deserves for this album to be acknowledged as an accomplished work, for which she also acted as co-producer.