Christine Ohlman

Hard Way

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Like the R&B icons she learned her stuff from, Christine Ohlman writes and sings about love, love and mo' love; bad and good, sweet and sour, and reveling in every hot sweaty moment of it. There's a distinctly female point of view to this record that I just love that doesn't put the men folks at arms' length and therein lies much of Christine's appeal; she's sexy without being threatening, ballsy and assertive without a hidden agenda to muck things up. Everything on here works simply because -- soul inflections and influences aside -- this is a guitar-driven rock & roll album with a great big old heart. You can come up with a winner anywhere the old laser beam falls, but major highlights include the New Orleans groove of "Sugar Melts," and the seductive ballads "Mirror Mirror" and "The Edge Of The World," the radio ready hit "A Shot Of You," and "Then God Created Woman," where Ohlman spits out the hook like Tina Turner fronting the Rolling Stones, making it not only the epic moment of the entire album (although it's mighty tough to pick just one), but A-1 rockin' that knows no gender boundaries. If rootsy, shrieky femme singer albums loaded with tired retreads of old soul material (or lousy originals) have got you down, here's where you go for a much needed lift. Support your American Beehive Queen and revel in the soul sauce. (Available from Deluge Records -- Box 2877 -- Waterville, Maine -- 04903)

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