Duffy Bishop – I’m Gonna Do What I Want!
Lil’ Spinner Records – 2020
9 tracks; 40 minutes
Duffy Bishop is an experienced singer whose first album was released in 1994. She splits her time between the Pacific Northwest (where she has been inducted into both the Cascade and Washington State Blues Society Halls Of Fame) and Florida, where her seventh album was recorded in St Augustine. Alongside Duffy are her husband Chris Carlson on guitar, Alex Richman on keys, Rusty Springfield on bass and Paul Unsworth on drums; guests include Greg Wiler on sax, Rob Ellis Peck on harp and Dave Fleschner on organ. Duffy wrote one song and collaborated with Chris on another, Chris contributed two songs of his own and Paul one. The other songs come from a variety of sources but avoid the ‘usual suspects’ of familiar songs and writers.
Duffy has a powerful vocal style with a deep and gritty delivery which is prominent on the title cut that opens the album. Chris’ stomper benefits from the support of Greg’s sax as Duffy details all the things she intends to do (and avoid). It all sounds quite petulant until the punchline in the final verse when the lyrics state that “I’m six years old, I’m gonna do what I want”! Chris shows a sure touch in his solo here and demonstrates a completely different style on Paul DeLay’s “Love Grown Cold”, a quieter, sad song about lost love. Duffy adopts a very different role on “69 Years Old”, a song that she and Chris wrote which takes “She’s Nineteen Years Old” and turns it on its head as Duffy’s new lover is 69 but has “ways like a high school boy”. Played over a similar tune to Muddy’s classic, Chris adds some nice slide accents and Alex’s piano underpins the whole tune. Adding to the fun Duffy promises to bring her slinky underwear if he brings the Viagra and then references Grace Slick’s “White Rabbit” which gives the opportunity to bring Cialis into the song – those of an over-sensitive disposition may feel uncomfortable at this point!
Two songs here eluded this reviewer’s attempts to find out about their authors: the gently funky “Must Be My Fault” was written by Tom Le Grand and the fact that the song is published by the same company as Chris and Duffy’s songs suggests that he is a friend of the band; “My Road Is Not Wide” is an emotional ballad by Lloyd Brown given a very dramatic reading by Duffy. John Medora and David White’s writing career goes back to 1957 with “At The Hop” for Danny & The Juniors. They wrote “You Don’t Own Me” for Lesley Gore and it also featured on the soundtrack of Hairspray. The song’s lyrics about female empowerment work well with Duffy’s personality and the chorus takes you back to the sort of hits so common in the 60’s. Chris’ “One Time” is a road rocker with a Texan feel, great piano and a powerful but well constrained vocal by Duffy, a strong cut. Duffy’s “Whistle Callin’” has slightly distorted vocals, the harp and slide guitar whipping up the pace of the song impressively as Duffy positively screams through the frantic closing section. Drummer Paul’s “The New Song” closes the album in acoustic style, Duffy giving us her impression of a growling trumpet before she delivers a simple little ditty which has a French chanson feel.
This is far from a straight blues album but offers variety and a couple of good songs to enjoy.