Carolyn Wonderland “Tempting Fate” CD Review by Franc Robert
Carolyn Wonderland “Tempting Fate”
CD Review by Franc Robert
WOW!!! Tempting Fate… is one astonishing record. If you have not heard Carolyn Wonderland before, you owe it to yourself to get this CD, like-now!!! Ms. Wonderland can compare to Bonnie Raitt, but hotter like a cayenne pepper. Arguably stronger vocals, and much spicier playing and songwriting.
Right out of the gate, “Fragile Peace and Certain War” fires off on all cylinders with its raging Mississippi Hill Country blues stomp, hound dog wailing slide guitar and impassioned, politically tinged vocals. Vocals that find a higher gear each verse till the final scream that recalls Tina Turner at the height of her powers-yeah, it is that good!
“Texas Girl and Her Boots” is a wonderfully sassy look at the form and function of her boot collection (every girl has more than one pair!), set over a bare-knuckle Texas shuffle with the added treat of Marcia Ball on piano, loads of fun!
“Broken Hearted Blues” is a classic blues rocker with Carolyn detailing every failing of her (now presumably former) lover-the standout here is her vocals, which go from a near whisper to all out wail on the turn of a dime. “Fortunate Few” is more traditional, with the piano more forward in the mix, and very tasty guitar work.
“Crack In the Wall” is a slow Texas waltz, with Cindy Cashdollar adding a haunting lap steel solo.
“The Laws Must Change” shows Ms. Wonderland interpreting her old boss John Mayall’s song, and in the process making it her own. Her guitar scat’s along to her vocals-sometimes doubling, other times finishing the line, before getting to a lyrical but still cutting solo!
“On My Feet” is more of a traditional jazz number, with smooth crooning, and a surprise whistle and guitar call and response solo-very nice and a cool twist! “It Takes a Lot to Laugh It Takes a Train to Cry” features Jimmie Dale Gilmore as a duet partner (sounding like Willie Nelson).
The album closes out with The Grateful Dead’s “Loser”- an unusual choice, but Wonderland makes it work. With its spaghetti western lyrics filtered through a blues-rock-psychedelic kaleidoscope leading to a dramatic rave up solo section. And its spine-tingling final chorus that leaves you wanting more, like a great album should!
Can you give six stars on a 5-star scale? That is what this record is, and I am sure it is already in the running for Blues Music Awards. Cannot wait for Ms. Wonderland to tour Florida!