Veteran rocker Sass Jordan has won numerous awards and sold over a million albums. She maintains that all her work is influenced by blues and has decided to go all in for her new album, her first for Stony Plain. She’s put together a crack band and culled some fine songs from across the blues spectrum for them to play on plus one original. She calls her band The Champagne Hookers, with Chris Caddell holding down lead guitar with Jimmy Reid on the other one, Derrick Brady on bass and Cassius Pereira on drums. The ubiquitous Steve Marriner guests on harp on most tracks with Jesse O’Brien on keys on a couple. You’ll hear that she sticks pretty close to the originals but her signature raspy voice, her interpretations (by a woman) and the band’s rivetting performances make this one a keeper. Sleepy John Estes’ “Leaving Trunk” is the Taj Mahal version from his first album and this opener smokes. It’s the first single too. Little Walter’s “My Babe” retains his jazzy, light touch, with Marriner showing that his lessons were well-learned. Keb’ Mo’s “Am I Wrong” finds Jordan backed only by two slide guitars in an album highlight. More slide, with the full band, for Elmore James’ ”One Way Out” – another fine version. Freddie King’s “Palace of the King” was a staple of his late career resurgence and gets an ambitious arrangement here with group vocals and a powerful Jordan vocal. “(I’ve Got) The Key (But I’m Digging a Hole)” is the one original and it’s much closer to her rock repertoire, although it fits in rather well here, written with co-producer D#. The arrangement for J.B. Hutto’s “Too Much Alcohol” has an attractive new slide part and retains the lighter sound to emphasize Jordan’s wonderful vocal. She concludes with Gary Moore’s slow one “Still Got the Blues” bringing to a close a varied and successful program. I hope there will be more. Sass Jordan, being Canadian, is versatile and she’s currently touring worldwide with A Bowie Celebration which will be in town on March 21 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. This album will be released on CD & vinyl on March 13 but her web site, www.sassjordan.com, shows no dates yet for this wonderful band. Speaking of versatile, she also has her own Rebel Moon Whisky and her own Kick Ass Sass wine!

March 2020 - David Clayton-Thomas
Top Blues - March 2020