Friday, January 20, 2017

Lady Bianca-Best Kept Secret (1995)


The best kept secret indeed! I must confess—it's not very often when my ears get to enjoy something from the contemporary blues genre, but when I do, my ears and I embrace the music with the same open arms as with everything else we love to indulge in! That confession leads in to a second confession: me having been holding on to this debut solo album by a marvelous singer who calls herself Lady Bianca. The near-hour-long blues festival kicks off when Lady B. does it up big and bold on the lively jam, "License To Steal", which is a reminder that it's exactly that every time you mess around with the other's emotions and in some way break that other person's heart. Big and bold—that's how she does it when your receptive ears will be sparked again on the groovy honky-tonk jam, " Talkin' Talkin' Talkin' ", a serious warning to the other woman that if she doesn't stop spreading her dirty laundry all over the place, then she's got something in store for her (and a mental 'I heard that' popped into my head in agreeable response). "Uncle Joe's Barn": the catchy title indicates that it could be something fun to jam.....and it really is! After the lively, jazzed-up rhythm pulls you in, Lady B. goes into her story about how she became a man when she made love for the first time inside that old farmhouse. So many things about this one that I like—from the saxophone solo break midway through to the part where the backup ladies sing 'rolling in the hay' (yeah, literally!) to the humorous bit at the end when Uncle Joe finally comes home, his angry words of 'what the hell is going on in there?' cutting through the music. And if you find yourself having all sorts of good times with "Uncle Joe's Barn", then you'll surely fill up in the thrills with "Boogie In The Middle". Short, fat, tall or little—as long as he's got the moves to put on her to make her happy; such is the whole idea to this one. Highlights include another great saxophone solo instrumental and piano instrumental break and the gritty, growling vocals of Lady B, herself (I especially like that slow, drawn-out laugh she does at the very end). Love when her voice gets gritty again. Then like that growl and laugh at the end. But she's even bigger and bolder than all of these when the true blues slow the beats down and she boasts the shameful, head-shaking love stories. "Ooh, His Love Is So Good": talk about secrets being kept! Confessions of being in love with another man while already with another man. Love the grit she puts on the 'ooh' and the part where she speaks, 'oh what the hell', when talking about the other man who rings her bell. It's a classic heart-to-heart case of one woman telling the other about a no-good man on "How Do I Tell My Little Sister?". Except there's a no-good woman here that the no-good man is in love with: Lady Bianca herself! A nice yet expected twist, given the flow of the story, but I love the song for its stellar, down-to-earth, tell-it-like-it-is style. For that very same reason, I cite "You Gonna Find Your Baby Gone" too as a musically filling gem. Now this time, she's warning the man about what's gonna happen if he doesn't stop playing the games. I like the added effect of the clock ticking and the phone hang-up in the acapella intro, plus how she echoes the 'gone' on the song's final note. All of these secrets I've dug up are only partially out of the bag, so to speak; you'll have to actually listen to these eleven songs, each holding a piece to uncovering the mystery of why this soulful Lady Bianca deserves to be crowned First Lady:

1. License To Steal
2. Ooh, His Love Is So Good
3. Talkin' Talkin' Talkin'
4. How Do I Tell My Little Sister?
5. Are You Really Satisfied?
6. Uncle Joe's Barn
7. The Captain And The Lady
8. Best Kept Secret
9. Now You Want To Come Home
10. You Gonna Find Your Baby Gone
11. Boogie In The Middle

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