John’s Blues Picks Nov 2015 – Miss Angel with Shawn Kellerman
Miss Angel with Shawn Kellerman Down In Mississippi (Electro-Fi)
Miss Angel Brown continues to honour the legacy of her late husband Mel Brown, supervising the Mel Brown Award and organizing the festival in his honour in Mississippi scheduled for next spring. Her own career continues too, with this new disc featuring Shawn Kellerman on guitar and as producer. Kellerman was an early protégé of Mel’s and was the first recipient of the Award. The apprenticeship led to his joining Bobby Rush’s band and later Lucky Peterson’s, who guests on one song here. The star of the show, though, is Miss Angel, who has been preparing this disc for a long time. Kellerman plays Mel’s Gibson Super 400 and adds bass & drums where needed. Matt Weidinger plays keys.
Miss Angel’s growth as a blues singer is immediately evident on “Down In Mississippi”. It’s just guitar and piano behind Miss Angel here, nothing fancy, a downhome blues that’ll have you wishing you were in Clarksdale with her. But if you were in Clarksdale you would hear a much more comtemporary sound in the clubs and that’s what Miss Angel offers up for the next few songs. “Say It Ain’t So”, “Honey Doo” & “I Like Your Soul” are all excellent modern blues. “It’s A Bad Night To Be A Stray Dog” is one of Fruteland Jackson’s unconventional songs, taking Miss Angel out of her comfort zone but she handles it very well indeed. It appears to be a song that’s been in reserve a while, with Mel Brown himself on acoustic guitar & piano. The gospel standard “Thank You Lord” is up next with a full quartet backing her. It sounds like it might have been recorded in a church in Clarksdale. Lucky Peterson takes over on keys for another gospel song, “This Train”, perhaps from the same Clarksdale session. Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “16 Tons” gets a nicely bluesy treatment with a fine vocal. The disc ends as it began with a fine downhome blues, “Blues in the Alley”, written by Miss Angel.
This album is going to be treated a little differently by Electro-Fi: you’ll have to get the actual CD from Miss Angel herself or from www.electrofi.com. Otherwise it will only be available as a download from iTunes, it will not be in retail stores.