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Blues Wednesday-Part 1-Joanne Shaw Taylor

So the other day there was a comment to my post of my favorite blues albums of 2010, that for the sake of gender equality, the reader would add Cyndi Lauper’s album Memphis Blues to my list. I said that I would check out the album, so I did this morning. I only listened to a few of the tracks and they sounded pretty good but Lauper’s voice is still a little too cute for me. But I will try to give it another listen in the future! However, I did listen to two female blues artists in today’s mix, Joanne Shaw Taylor and Shannon Curfman. Both Shaw Taylor and Lauper are featured in the Nov./Dec. issue of Blues Revue with Joanne Shaw Taylor on the cover with the headline “Powerful Women Play the Blues”. Also included in the magazine is an article about Eden Brent, who I wrote about a little while back!

Anyway back to the two women I listen to today. First Joanne Shaw Taylor, I listened to her sophomore release Diamonds in the Dirt. Taylor hails from the Black Country of England, the same region that spawned Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath! She now calls another tough town with a rich musical heritage home Detroit. Taylor was 16 when she was discovered by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and asked to join his new project D.U.P. ¬†At 23 with D.U.P. a distant memory, Taylor signed with Ruf Records and worked with legendery producer Jim Gaines to create White Sugar. It was like a dream come true for Joanne to work with a producer who produced the idols of her youth, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins and Luther Allison. Gaines also produced Diamonds in the Dirt with Taylor and while she didn’t win this year’s Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut, she did pick up the 2010 British Blues Award for Best Female Vocalist! In addition Taylor went along with Joe Bonamassa on his mini-tour of Australia and while this may not seem like much of an achievement it is, because Bonamassa rarely tours with an opening band, but he personally chose Taylor to be his opening act! I really enjoyed the album but only listening to it a couple of times today it’s hard to say what are the standout tracks. I know I liked the opening track “Can’t Keep Living Like This” and “Jump That Train”. But just check out her music and maybe you’ll feel like I do that Joanne and Jim Gaines have produced an album that would make her heroes proud!!

Here’s a performance of the title track from her first album “White Sugar” And now it’s time for a little break and I’ll be back in a bit to tell you a bit about Shannon Curfman!