Self-Release – 2017
11 tracks; 39 minutes
Miss Freddye comes from the Pittsburgh area but for this debut release she headed West to Kid Andersen’s Greaseland studios where Kid and Andy Santana co-produced the album; indeed Andy had a hand in nine of the eleven songs. Kid plays all guitars with June Core on drums, Endre Tarczy on bass and Jim Pugh on keys; horns are added to most tracks by Eric Spaulding (sax) and John Halbleib (trumpet).
There are no fewer than four harmonica players involved with John Nemeth, Aki Kumar and Brandon G Bentz joining Andy across the album; John Blues Boyd sings two duets with Miss Freddye and Lisa Andersen, Robby Yamilov and Andy provide backing vocals. Miss Freddye emerges as a fine singer in the Etta James tradition, equally at home on uptempo belters as sensitive ballads and this is a fine debut.
Opener “Miss Freddye’s Gonna Fix Ya” is a naggingly catchy tune with John Nemeth’s harp and a strong horn arrangement as Freddye offers comfort both physical and spiritual to those in need. The songwriting credit here is Mike Sweeney who also co-wrote two other songs with Andy: “Home Improvement” is a standout with great sax and piano behind the double entendre lyrics which Freddye sings with ribald enthusiasm; “Chain Breaker” has latin rhythms as Freddye describes her life as like being in prison.
Steve Nestor is the co-writer with Andy of the title track which races along over a guitar riff that recalls Otis Rush’s “Homework” as the horns punctuate Freddye’s impassioned vocals, clearly a song written with her stage persona in mind. Steve and Andy also contribute “Use The Back Door”, a really strong shuffle with more excellent horn work as Freddye gets rid of a lover who is encouraged to leave via the back door so that her friends do not see him. John Blues Boyd joins Freddye on vocals on “Don’t Apologize, Recognize”, a slow late-night blues with breathy sax, jazzy guitar chords and lovely piano and “Luv Ya Baby”, a more uptempo stomper with Kid’s guitar featured, Andy taking harp solos on both tracks.
Freddye is credited as co-writer on three tracks which appear later on the album, each containing ‘blues’ in the title. “Doorway To The Blues” has Freddye in relaxed vocal mood and John’s muted trumpet adding to the jazzy feel with Kid’s fine acoustic plucking; “These Are My Blues” is clearly an autobiographical song with Andy the featured soloist on harp; mind you “Freight Train Blues” goes one better with both Aki and Brandon featured, even though the song is only 2.24, including some brief studio chatter at the end! The album closes with Dr John’s “A Losing Battle”, a slow blues once recorded by Johnny Adams and here brilliantly interpreted by Freddye.
This reviewer has not heard from Andy Santana since his 2015 album Watch Your Step and it is great to see his key involvement in this project. As always with material recorded with Kid Andersen at Greaseland the sound is authentic Rn’B and the musicians right on the money throughout.
But the star of the show is definitely Miss Freddye who has a great voice for the material on this album. A new name on the scene and one to look out for but meanwhile this album can be highly recommended to Blues Blast readers.