One Eye Open
Black Hen Music
Capturing Old-School Rhythm & Blues Magic in a Bottle.
Apparently I received a copy of Canadian minstrel, Ms Danser’s previous album GOIN’ GONE in 2018; it’s there in my music files; but I can’t find a review in our back pages; and it’s rather good; and I’m familiar with a lot of the players on board too.
I won’t make that mistake with ONE EYE OPEN; as it’s a bit of a doozy.
First of all check out the cover; it really is a pre-cursor to what you get inside; starting with the late night groove of Way I Like It Done, with Kat shimmying her way through a Bump n Grind Blues that’s full of New Orleans style piano from Kevin McKendree and a funky-ass rhythm section.
Things immediatly slow down on Track #2 Lonely & The Dragon; and while it’s probably the coolest song here; it will leave the average male listener coming out in a hot sweat as Kat Danser purrs her story like she-cat on heat.
Do you get a sense that this is no ordinary Blues release?
Each time I’ve played it something new has disentangled making me go back to the start of the track to get the best out of it.
While it’s difficult to put all of these tracks into one single basket; it’s fair to say between Kat and producer Steve Dawson they have delved into the hey days of Classic Rhythm & Blues, to come up with a very switched on and contemporay release; with the punchy Trainwreck and the righteous Gospel Blues mantra of Get Right Church sandwiching a Punk infused One Eyed Closed; yet all being closely related via Kat Danser’s fabulous genetics and Steve Dawson’s skills on the guitar.
With so much on offer to choose from as a Favourite Track where do I start?
Album finale Mi Corazon, sung in a haunting Spanish, is as left of centre as the Blues gets and has tickled my taste buds a few times now.
Frenchman Street Shake needs to be played L.O.U.D to get the best from it; not that it’s a ‘rocker’ Hell; it’s almost the opposite as it’s the epitome of good time New Orleans music with added geetar and funky horns; but the joy it evokes needs to be shared with your neighbours at every opportunity!
Then again, Bring It With You When You Come is as slinky as it is old-school groovelicious and even a tiny bit licentious too.
But, being the soppy old sod I am, I think I’m going for the heart-breaking ballad Please Don’t Cry with its swirling Hammond back-beat accompanied by a subtly supportive bass and drums ; which bizarrely sounds like Dusty singing Patsy in a sleazy Havana cocktail lounge circa 1960; and that’s exactly the imagery I would give an accompanying video …… but I am a hopeless romantic at heart.
For what sounds like a simply produced album; spanning several studios and homes during lockdown Steve Dawson has managed to capture some ‘real magic in a bottle’ here; and made me, for one want to trawl back through Kat Danser’s back catalogue to see if anything matches these apparent career highlights.