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As good as the blues gets

White Trash Girl
White Trash Girl
By Candye Kane

Ruf Records: 2005

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This review first appeared in Turbula in September 2005.

Candye Kane is San Diego's Crown Princess of the Blues – by far the best blues singing and shouting gal outside the formidable, indeed legendary Jeannie Cheatham.

But even Jeannie better bring her "A" game if she wants to keep Kane on the bench.

Possessed of a set of lungs that would shame most opera singers, Kane is an over-the-top performer who does everything with such swagger and bravado that it all works, sometimes in spite of itself.

Recorded in Austin, Texas, her latest album is an in-your-face bit of electric blues and boogie that is as aggressive in its femininity as anything Kiss or Ted Nugent ever did were in their masculinity. With songs like "Estrogen Bomb," "Big Fat Mamas Are Back in Style" and "Queen of the Wrecking Ball," Kane seems out to live up to the title of the album.

But if there's a touch of trailer park to the music found here, there's also as big a heart as you'll find in all of music. Kane wrote or co-wrote nine of the 14 songs here, and every one is a gem. The songs range from blues shouters to rock 'n' roll to jump blues to torch songs.

No worries, though. Kane and her crack all-star band (harpist Gary Primich, bassist Preston Hubbard, organist Riley Osbourn, saxophonist/producer Kaz Kazanoff) make each and every song, every stylistic change their own.

It's hard to remember a more satisfying blues album of late – this is as good as it gets.

Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (winter 2005).