SOTG Record Review: Black Cat Blues
I've been a fan of Kenny Klein's music ever since I heard Fairy Queen on The Best of Pagan Song (Serpentine Music). I also knew he was an amazing author and magician and a phenomenal Tarot reader (my wife had Kenny read for her a few years ago at PantheaCon in San Jose. Black Cat Blues reaffirms that Mr. Klein is a true renaissance man: there's not much he can't do.
Kenny resides in New Orleans and it shows in this album. There's a lot of toe-tapping Bayou music and blues, fantastic fiddle riffs, soulful lyrics and you can almost smell the Jambalaya and Crawfish Etouffee coming from the speakers - he even has a song called Marie Laveu! Doesn't get any more New Orleans than that!
I find myself involuntarily rocking side to side or tapping my feet - sometimes both, when I listen to this album. There's a raw quality to this album that gives me the impression that this was recorded on a Louisiana street corner or jumping blues club on Bourbon Street and not in a record studio - which is just refreshing in its authenticity.
Joining Kenny on Black Cat Blues is the soulful Carolyn Broussard who adds a beautiful flavour to this album. She rocks and roars on a few tunes like Oh Diana and Mandrake (listen to Mandrake below) and you can hear the sweet longing in her voice that's part chanteuse part torch singer. I am really enjoying the genuine tone (and accent) in her voice and I'm really glad Kenny had Carolyn as a part of this project. Though she's got a powerful voice, her sweet harmonies are just to die for (see Marie Laveu and Serve).
Though it's hard to pick just one song as a definite favourite, I could definitely say that Serve is going to get a lot of play, though it somewhat reminds me of a good old southern church song. It gets me to think back to my days as a child when I went to church with the family where we lived in Sonoma, Ca - though the lyrical content helps me to reclaim those memories with fondness instead of dread.
I listen to Kenny Klein's Black Cat Blues and I think fondly of the memories and stories that is painted so vividly in this record that are not mine, yet feel so familiar and comforting.
I'm sure you all will enjoy this album as much as I did. Get your copy in a couple of weeks and see for yourself. Go get your gris-gris bag, throw this album on and prepare for a trip to the deep, deep south. It will be available on all the major distributors (Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby) as well as his website (we'll let you know the day it becomes available).
I asked Kenny about what lead to the creation of Black Cat Blues and he replied:
"As a Pagan musician, through the 80s and 90s I wrote songs in the styles of Celtic and British Isles music, pretty much like evertyone else. But as a full time professional musician I played a lot of Bluegrass, Swing, Blues and Country music. I often thought that Pagans should have these musical styles available to us. So in the past ten years I have left writing in the styles of Celtic/British to others, and have explored American styles. In 1995 I recorded the CD Fairy Queen, my last foray for a time into British, but with a Dark Wave/Goth electronica feel. Then I recorded Meet Me In The Shade Of The Maple Tree, the first CD of Pagan Bluegrass; and later the CD Ghosts Of The Delta, a CD of PaganSwing and Jugband music. My latest CD, Black Cat Blues, explores Pagan Delta Blues and Cajon styles. All of my CDs are available at www.kennyklein.net/download.html , as well as on iTunes and cdbaby.com. "
Learn more about Kenny Klein at his website - www.KennyKlein.net