CeCe Teneal & Soul Kamotion – #5or5000
Based out of Orlando, FL, CeCe Teneal & Soul Kamotion definitely set the bar high with their first release, a live album recorded at the Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts in Winter Park, FL. Once part of the B.B. King Allstar Band, the band has been around for sixteen years, so it has had plenty of time to hone the potent sound they generate with ease. Teneal, the daughter of singer Yvonne Jackson, handles the lead vocals with Chris Baptiste on keyboards, Lavon Rushing on guitar, Terrell Kimble on bass, and James Adkins on drums. All of the band members add vocal parts with the exception of Adkins.
The opener, “90 MPH,” is an appropriately titled slice of funk that quickly unveils the range and power of Teneal’s voice. Raised up in the church, the singer is instantly captivating as she threatens to overwhelm the band’s best efforts to keep up. “Danger” is a full-throated warning to a lover to stop the mistreating ways, complete with an unaccredited trombone solo. They kick it into high gear on “Work,” as Teneal expounds on her work ethic, laying it all on the line every night.
When the pace slows on the soulful ballad “What I’d Do To Get Your Love Back,” Teneal turns in a memorable performance, sharing her heartache and torment over a lost love that she can’t leave behind. She is transformed on the following track, “Common Ordinary Housewife,” an evil woman turned loose on an unsuspecting world, looking for to even the score – a contemporary blues song that resonates through repeated listens. The title track is a soaring anthem that promises that the band will strive to be the best no matter how many people turn out for a show. “Rockstar” is another celebration of the life-affirming drive that is needed to overcome life’s trials and tribulations. The arrangement builds in intensity, the band in perfect sync with Teneal’s riveting vocal.
“I Betcha Come Back” is an energetic send-off to a cheating lover accented by some fine slide guitar work, while “4 On The Floor” is an uptempo blues shuffle all about the good times to be had out on the dance floor. On “Alive,” Teneal delves into the gospel realm, singing words of inspiration. And once the spirit takes over halfway through the six minute opus, she will have you hanging on every word all the way through until she raises the rafters with a frenzied, shouting climax. The mood softens as the singer looks forward to the comforts and relaxation of being “Home,” Teneal’s immaculate phrasing expressing the profound joy that she feels.
It is hard to believe that CeCe Teneal & Soul Kamotion have been “undiscovered” and unrecorded up until now. While most of the music is, at best, blues-influenced, there is no denying that Teneal is gifted with vocal skills far beyond those of most mere mortals, possessing the ability to bring meaningful life to commonplace lyrics. Fans of Shemekia Copeland certainly will want to hear this one. With Soul Kamotion backing her every move, CeCe Teneal makes it clear that she is a force to be reckoned with!