Carolyn Fe Blues Collective – Bad Taboo | Album Review

carolynfecdCarolyn Fe Blues Collective – Bad Taboo

Self Release

13 songs time-51:39

On this the second full length album from Montreal, Canada based Filipino chanteuse Carolyn Fe and her excellent band it is made very evident why they have garnered so much acclaim in their hometown. She is not of the blues shouter variety of female blues singers that is often found in blues outfits. Although there is kind of an aloofness in her “matter-of-fact” delivery it possesses a definite authority. Combined with the clever lyrics and strong backing from her band and assorted guests in the all original songs every gels to create a powerful album. Guitarist Rami Cassab has a fluid, seamless, energetic and enthusiastic style that propels the songs. Keyboardist Tim Alleyne is cut from the same cloth. The rhythm section of Oisin Little and Dan Legault on bass and drums respectively lay down solid support. Dan also does double duty by being responsible for the superior recording and mixing of the proceedings. The sound quality is right on the mark.

From the first few notes of Rami’s modern blues guitar and Tim’s jazzy organ and piano on the lead-off song “All About Them”, they have got me hooked. It’s a classy song about trendy, self-centered people. As on the songs to follow the lyrics and music fit “hand-in-glove”. The next tune “Kitty Cat” seems to touch on a similar subject along with the right musical touches. Koko Taylor’s former guitarist Shun Kikuta who B.B. King declared to be “The Asian B.B. King” handles lead guitar chores on the title song. His slow and deliberate playing soars along, nicely supporting the vocal.

Slide guitar, deliberately distorted vocals and Guy Belanger’s expert harmonica skills weave in and out of the modern down-home styled foot-stomper “Life’s Just That Good”. The jaunty “Love Galore” bounces along on a cushion of piano, organ and the ever-present guitar of Mr. Cassab. “Goodbye” is a tender and beautiful “torch song” backed solely by soft guitar. Things get back to the whole band setup with a “walking bass” pattern and some sexy and slinky saxophone courtesy of Jason Luc Murphy on “Bad Thing”.

“Not Anymore” seems to be about putting an end to a cheating lover with a bullet. That must of ruined his day. The band gets “unplugged” with only acoustic guitar, Guy Belanger’s “Mississippi saxophone” and percussion on the down-home-y “Whole Lotsa Trouble”. “Not Worth The Show” might be what Debbie Harry and Blondie would sound like if they were a blues band. New Wave energy and nasty slide guitar infuse this fitting end to this well crafted CD.

A Canadian-based band rises once more to energize the state of modern blues. Carolyn Fe’s vocal delivery is a presence to be reckoned with. And “Boy Howdy!” can that Rami Cassab burn up the strings in style. This group of musicians deserve all the praise heaped on them by the Canadian press. This one is well worth a listen by any discerning blues fan.

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