Lisa Biales – Belle of the Blues | Album Review

lisabialescd2Lisa Biales – Belle of the Blues

Big Song Music

CD: 11 songs; 39:56 Minutes

Styles: Traditional and Contemporary Acoustic/Electric Blues

Even though the 2014 Winter Games have drawn to a close, what do Ohio native Lisa Biales and an Olympic athlete have in common? Both have the innate, incredibly rare ability to make their performances seem effortless, in spite of intense training and years of practice in their field. Even though the blues streams forth from Biales’ mouth “Just Like Honey,” as she proclaims there’s “Singing In My Soul,” she’s climbed several mountains in order to be the “Belle of the Blues.” “Recording is not all gravy,” comments Lisa about the sessions for this third release. However, her genius lies in the way that listeners would never know it. What’s her secret, besides raw talent refined and polished to a metallic gleam? Just as an Olympic dais wouldn’t be complete without three winners upon it, this CD achieves its glory via the flawless musical team of vocalists Biales and EG Kight, and  guitarist Tommy Talton. Together, they “sweep the podium” on every one of eleven tracks. Seven are originals written or co-written by Kight, with the other four being crisp covers. All are top-notch numbers, but these three win medals: 

Track 03: “Bad Things” – “I wonder if I’m under some spell that you bring, when you make me, when you make me do bad things.” Not since “Just Like Honey” has Biales sung a catchier vocal hook, this time alongside EG Kight in perfect harmony. Their cover of a Scott Sanford and Donica Knight melody proves that Lisa’s voice is truly at its best when there’s a sharp edge to its sweetness. Underneath its warm caress lies razor-keen menace, especially when she sings, “You make me a liar…you make me a thief.” Also featured are Tommy Talton on sly slide and acoustic guitars, Randall Bramblett on wah-wah Hammond B3 organ, and Gary Porter on ‘rattlesnake’ tambourine.

Track 05: “Graveyard Dead Blues” – A body can’t get any colder or deader than “graveyard dead.” This song’s co-writers, Kight, Biales, and Tom Horner prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. “There’s two things to remember before we tie the knot,” Lisa warns. “If you ever cheat or beat on me, you might get yourself all shot.” She minces no words, and neither does Talton on dashing dobro. He makes this resonator instrument tell as much of a story as the lyrics, which is nothing short of magic. 

Track 08: “Peach Pickin’ Mama” – Originally by EG Kight and Richard Fleming, this is a ballad for fans whose favorite things about the blues are cheeky double-entendres: “Well, I’m a peach-pickin’ mama from up Ohio way, and my peaches taste good – that’s what all the farm boys say.” The innuendo is irresistible, as are Tommy Vickery on bass and Pat Bergeson on feisty harmonica. 

Truly, this lovely “Belle” claims the vocal and team-effort gold in the “Blues Olympics”!


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