Cee Cee James

Low Down Where the Snakes Crawl

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Vocalist/songwriter Christina "Cee Cee" James has gone through no small amount of tragedy in her well-documented personal life, but that does not detract from the positive vision and Pacific-Northwest-to-California-and-back perspective she brings to her down-home blues approach. This is her second studio CD, but the one that should bring national attention to a very alluring, substantial, and enjoyable singer rooted in voodoo, mystical, underground-styled blues, with only a minute trace of rock or funk. She has perfect control of her great voice, not strained or restrained on any level. There is a darker side to her tunes, established by the title track that strikes a balance between the acoustic rural and siren shadow world image that is difficult to resist. She's even a bit whimsical, as heard on "I'll Ask the Questions, You Tell the Lies" in a shuffle beat with her overdubbed vocals. Contrasting the low-down "Black Raven" with "Love Makes Change" à la Koko Taylor's version of Willie Dixon's "Wang Dang Doodle," it's clear that James has done her homework on a broad spectrum of Memphis-to-Chicago blues. There are many elongated songs, atypical of the blues, but indicative of James' intent to showcase her husband, guitarist and co-songwriter Rob Andrews. He's a fabulous slide player whose identity on this recording is fully in tune with the understated voice of James, and enhances a mystery quotient a hundredfold. You should really enjoy this fine CD, and also seek out her debut recording, the pop/funk-oriented "Spiritually Wet," or the more intense live album "Seriously Raw" for further evidence of why Cee Cee James is one of the very best newer blues singers, on tap for superstardom along with Ana Popovic, Janiva Magness, and E.G. Kight.

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