Review: Heather Crosse – Groovin’ At The Crosse Roads

Posted on: Saturday, Sep 12, 2015

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Heather Crosse – Groovin’ At The Cross Roads
(Ruf Records: 1217)

That terrible pun in the CD title refers to the fact that vocalist, bass guitarist, song writer and band leader Heather Crosse, originally from Louisiana, is now based in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where she has backed up the likes of Jody Williams, Bob Margolin and James “Super Chikan” Johnson, in addition to regularly appearing with her own band as Heavy Suga’ & The Sweetones at the Ground Zero blues club, part-owned by actor Morgan Freeman – she refers to this on the appropriately named ‘Clarksdale Shuffle’.

Heather also toured Europe and recorded with the “Girls With Guitars” Blues Caravan earlier this year, but her heart is really in the vintage blues and soul sound, and her band (guitarist Dan Smith, keyboards player Mark Yacovone, and drummer Lee Williams) certainly understand this and supply exactly what is needed.

From the opening early 60s R&B flavoured strut of the sassy ‘My Man Called Me’ (from Big Mama Thornton) and the moody blues of the original ‘Why Does A Woman Need A Bass Guitar’ through to the fine uptempo swinging blues of ‘Call On Me’ and the closing ‘You Don’t Move Me No More’, another sassy number from Big Mama Thornton (and Heather’s growl runs her close), this is a totally convincing album.

In between there are plenty of solid, modern Mississippi blues, and several soul items, with an unexpected but very successful cover of Gwen McCrae’s 1975 hit ‘Rockin’ Chair’ and a nod to Etta James with ‘Damn Your Eyes’. Jim Gaines produced this CD, which is a guarantee of quality in itself. To sum up then, a fine set all round.

NORMAN DARWEN

www.heathercrosse.com

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