As a three-time nominee for the WC Handy award for Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year, Do I Move You shows that the accolade was no fluke. Janiva Magness follows up the terrific Bury Him at the Crossroads with a set that is even more varied and affecting. Co-produced once again with Colin Linden, Magness shifts from the tough Chicago shuffle of Willie Dixon's "Workin' on Me Baby" to the sax-peppered New Orleans rhythms of "I Can't Stop Crying" and the sensual, torchy Nina Simone title track. The singer's husky voice and sexy approach finds a perfect balance on arrangements that frame her vocals and provide enough support to keep Magness in the spotlight yet never overwhelm her. Credit also needs to go to Jeff Turmes, who as multi-instrumentalist (bass, guitar, sax) and songwriter (he pens three terrific tunes) is nearly as integral to the album's success as Linden and Magness. Kicking off with a shot of Marcia Ball-ish brashness in a cover of "I'm Just a Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin')," the singer shows why she's in the major leagues of contemporary R&B female vocalists. Her smooth yet feisty tone along with the subtle inflections and catches in her voice add an edge to any tune. She proudly describes herself as a "hussie" in the liner notes and that spirit is shown on every track. Whether riffing off a Bessie Smith-styled attraction to younger lovers in "Stealin' Sugar" and the hard-rocking "A Man Sized Job," or lamenting a lost love in an exquisite cover of Delbert McClinton's "You Were Never Mine" (arguably her finest ballad cover), Magness flaunts her sexuality and sass with professionalism and class. She even strips the sound down to the acoustic Delta blues of Turmes' "Don't Let Your Memories," and proves she's nearly the vocal equal of Bonnie Raitt on that and the tough swamp funk of his "Bad Blood." Lee Rogers' snappy, beach music '60s soul hit "I Want You to Have Everything" is unearthed and given a shot of energy, but it's on the slower songs that Magness really lays into the groove. With Do I Move You?, the singer has released a breakout album that should help her cross over from a blues audience into a mainstream success she so obviously deserves.
AllMusic Review by Hal Horowitz