Review: Kirsten Thien – Delicious

Posted on: Friday, Dec 24, 2010

(Screen Door Records – SDR0002)

Here’s a delightful third full-length album from New York-based singer/songwriter Kirsten Thien – a lovely blend of soul-flavoured blues, with a touch of jazz and more – 11 tracks plus two bonus radio edits and video. Her great love of Aretha Franklin is evident here, with some Bonnie Raitt touches as well on the vocals . . . . and complemented by some great players, including blues veterans Hubert Sumlin and Arthur Neilson, in-demand drummer Steve Holley and keyboard ace Tommy Mandel.

The opening “Love That’s Made To Share”, a co-writer with producer Erik Boyd, is a punchy Memphis-style stomper, with the horns of Kent Smith and Andy Snitzer to the fore, and snarling solos from Messrs. Sumlin and Neilson, and Kirsten Thien’s great voice. The following “Nobody’s Ever Loved Me Like You Do” is again in Memphis soul mode, with another lovely smooth vocal performance from the lady.

Her self-penned “Please Drive” is a menacing blues with the great Hubert Sumlin on top form, as is Tommy Mandel’s piano playing. The Jon Tiven / Charlie Feldman song “Taxi Love” is not for the faint-hearted, telling of saucy goings-on in the back seat of a NYC yellow taxi . . . the illicit deed bringing another storming vocal from Kirsten Thien. The title  cut, “Delicious” features some fierce guitar from NYC bluesman Arthur Neilson, on this song co-written with Noel Cohen.

The pace is taken right down for the ballad, “Ain’t That The Truth”, a tale of confession and truth; before the horns punch out again on “Treat ‘Im Like A Man”, with Dave Patterson taking the guitar honours on this track. The Ida Cox cover, “Wild Women Don’t Have The Blues” is a stripped-down affair with just Thien’s gritty vocal and the tough harmonica of Memphis  stalwart, Billy Gibson, and quite excellent he is here too!

Another blues classic, Willie Dixon’s “I Ain’t Superstitious” is given a funky, lowdown groove, just Neilson’s grungy guitar tone and the drums of Dylan Wissing, and this fine release has a gem in the penultimate track,  with another of the lady’s original songs, the Nashville-inspired “A Woman Knows”, with some weeping slide work from Dave Patterson and the background vocals of Galia Arad, Susan Didrichsen and Karen Lloyd behind Thien’s towering vocal.

The closing “Get Outta The Funk, Get Into The Groove” is fairly self-explanatory – riding on Arthur Neilson’s wah-wah guitar riff, and top soulful vocal . . . a fine ending to a most enjoyable release from a new name to me, and well worth checking out! For a New York City recording it has a very Memphis feel, which can only be a good thing!


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