Kaz Hawkins Band
Hallelujah! The Irish Queen of the Blues Delivers Her Masterpiece.
After seeing Kaz ‘steal the show’ at the inaugural Belfast Skyline Festival a few years ago; and then falling in love with her Get Ready! Album in 2015 nothing, I repeat nothing prepared me for how I felt the first night I played this album.
Although I disagreed with a few people last year; I can see why Kaz Hawkins could or indeed was labelled as a Blues ‘Shouter’ in the vein of Janis Joplin or possibly even Same Maggie Bell; but Lordy there is so much more to her here.
The album opens with a live and raw Gospel song called Pray that will set the hair on the back of your neck on end.
Just as you get your breath back some of the funkiest guitar and bass glide out of the speakers before Ms. Hawkins delivers a vocal performance of epic proportions on the bittersweet It Ain’t You; making me put down my magazine and seriously concentrate; while my dancing shoes took on a life of their own.
While not exactly made ‘on a shoestring’ Feelin’ Good has a fabulous ‘sound’ to it; making me think it could easily have been made in Muscle Shoals or the like; back in the day when budgets were never ending.
WOW! From start to finish the title track Feelin’ Good is ‘epic,’ with Kaz and band coming together to create a sound akin to Etta James fronting Blind Faith on a Friday night. Powerful stuff indeed.
Then; the Funk is back with Don’t Run Away; a cracking song full of crackling guitar and some bass lines that Nile Rodgers would be proud of.
Then; Kaz immediately afterwards breaks your heart with the lyrically acute and emotionally brittle Because You Love Me; proving that there are definitely a lot more strings to her bow than just ‘The Blues.’
By the way; Kaz Hawkins has Soul with a capital S…..take a listen to Soul Superstar or the autobiographical This Is Me and tell me you don’t think this lady is from Memphis or Chicago and downtown Belfast, Northern Ireland. Go on; I dare you.
Just like in the olden days, Feelin’ Good is an ‘album’ in all its glory; with every song here on its own merits; but as is my won’t I have to pick a ‘best in show’ and it’s not an easy thing to do; but I will toss a coin; ‘heads’ for the Rocking and Rolling and ball breaking Belfast Town; and ‘tails’ for Kaz’s reinterpretation of the ever wonderful I Just Wanna Make Love to You; giving it a 21st Century makeover and will no doubt be a highlight; if not a showstopper when Kaz takes the show on the road.
Seriously; if you like Beth Hart, Susan Teduschi, or Janis, Maggie and Dusty you are gonna love this album. Trust me.
Released May 28th 2016
#PS This is a CD ONLY release; with no digital downloads available (which is a good thing!)