LJ Mounteney spent her early years on the prairies. Her mother had a great love of music, which she passed along to her daughter. LJ moved to BC and found herself in Vancouver. After taking the jazz program at Vancouver Community College, she sang in jazz, swing, R&B, roots and pop bands. 

A friend suggested that LJ should make a blues album, and introduced her to bluesman and Juno winner Jack Lavin (Powder Blues), who agreed to produce. The pandemic intervened and the album took much longer to complete than originally planned. But it was worth the wait. 

LJ decided that the focus would be Canadian – as much as possible of the songwriters and musicians would hail from north of the 49th parallel. Another priority was to get as many contributions as possible from women. 

The title song was inspired of course by her mother, who loved to dance along to her large and varied record collection. ‘Mama Danced’ was co-written with Lillooet Fox and Jon Roper. Jack Lavin offered up ‘I Like It Hot’, a Big Easy flavoured number co-written with Jeane Rogers. Both of these zippy tracks are driven by the accordion of Debra Peters. 

Another significant contribution is by Maple Blues Award winner Brandon Isaak, who played guitar and harmonica on several songs. He also contributed the gospel-flavoured ‘Take My Message’, performed here as a tasty duet. 

Other Canuckian songs used to good effect are ‘Somebody Pour Me Some Coffee’ (Alexandrov/Gaye/ Mounteney), ‘Wasn’t That a Time?’ (Jim Foster), ‘Life of the Party’ (Dennis Meneely), ‘Take Some Care of Me’ (Linda Kidder) and the clever ‘Basement Suite Blues’ (Tom Arntzen). 

The carefully chosen covers are ‘I’m Ready’ (Willie Dixon), ‘Dirty Rat’ (Memphis Minnie), ‘I Did My Part’ (Allan Toussaint), ‘Neighbor, Neighbor’ (Huey Meaux) and ‘Two Is a Couple’ (Ike & Tina Turner). 

As well as the spirited production, Jack Lavin contributes harp on some tracks, and plays bass throughout. The talented lineup of BC musicians includes Jan Randall (keys), Jon Roper (guitar), Jerry Cook (saxes), Geeta Daas (trumpet) and Ross Hall (drums). Helping out are Nick Apivor (percussion) and Dee Daniels, Krystle Dos Santos and Lillooet Fox (vocals).

Mama Danced is a very appealing collection of sounds, arrangements, and collaborators. You can bet that we will be hearing more from LJ Mounteney.

  (Paul Norton)