Kaye Bohler – Handle The Curves
Self-Release – 2014
10 tracks; 39 minutes
Kaye Bohler has worked hard to establish herself on the California scene and this is her fourth CD. The ten tracks are all interesting originals by Kaye who handles all vocals and is joined by Kelly Black on guitar, Michael Murphy on keys, John Paul and Jeff Sorenson on drums, Pete Anderson on guitar and bass, Ron Dziubla on sax and Lee Thornburg on trumpet and trombone; Lee also arranged all the horn parts. The album was produced by Pete Anderson, Michael Murphy and Tony Rambo and was recorded in Glendale, CA.
The album opens strongly with two uptempo numbers. The funky “Diggin’ On My Man” finds Kaye concentrating her efforts on her guy while “The Way I Do Business” explains that Kaye works on the ‘WYSIWYG’ principle: “I don’t need nobody causing me strife, that’s the way I do business, that’s the way I do life”. The horns are a huge plus on both these tracks, but good as the first two tracks are track 3 is absolutely terrific.
“Bubble Gum” reminisces about what became of “the girl skipping with the bubble gum?”, how did that young girl get to where she is now? The music accompanying this tale is pure Stax, from the great horn arrangement to the Steve Cropper style guitar. Memphis sounds reappear later on in “Slayed” which sounds like vintage Hi Records, a song that Al Green could have sung though Kaye does a fine job here, as does Ron Dziubla in his solo.
“Family Is Found” also dips into the soul well in a more uptempo vein as Kaye tells us how friends can become family, Ron again soloing in robust style. Kaye has been dubbed ‘the white Tina Turner’ and this track is probably the one that most closely meets that description, but really Kaye has her own voice, no need for such comparisons.
Kaye shows us she can handle a dramatic ballad as in closer “Don’t Take My Hope Away” in which Kaye demonstrates her independence and determination not to be prevented from following her chosen path. The horns again play an important role and Michael’s churchy organ solo gives the whole number a nice gospel feel.
The title track “Handle The Curves” sounds autobiographical as Kaye sings of her struggles in life: “This ain’t no freeway, gonna have to pay the toll. Can you handle the curves of my highway, can you handle the curves of my road?”
Elsewhere “Backbone” gives us a touch of urban R n’ B and “Party Time” does what it says in the title, a call to enjoy ourselves after the working week; the band certainly follows the advice, guitarist Pete letting loose and the horns baying their support. “It’s The Blues” is probably the most identifiable blues track here with a core riff that is pure Muddy Waters.
This is the first time this reviewer has heard Kaye Bohler and it has been a great experience. A fine album, well packaged, well produced with some strong songs and excellent playing – this one comes recommended.