Thursday, April 28, 2011

Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez: "The Deep End" CD Review

Christine Ohlman, known for being the featured vocalist with the Saturday Night Live Band, releases a new album of mostly original (and really good) material. Ian Hunter, Marshall Crenshaw and Dion are among the musicians featured on The Deep End.

Christine opens this album with "There Ain't No Cure." Ian Hunter performs duet vocals on this song. For those who can't place the name, Ian Hunter was the singer for Mott The Hoople. He also wrote "Cleveland Rocks," which was used as the theme song for The Drew Carey Show (though that version was a cover by The Presidents Of The United States Of America). "There Ain't No Cure" is a good, solid, driving song.

"The Deep End"

"The Deep End" is an excellent song - more on the acoustic side. The music is great, the vocals are perfect, and the lyrics are superb. Here's a taste: "I told myself I would never surrender/Though I was no stranger to the thrill/Then came the thirst in your eyes, and the twist in your smile/And I hold my heart steady, until/I will jump right in to the deep end of the river of love, love, love."

Ian Hunter does harmony vocals on this song.

"Like Honey"

"Like Honey" is just a darn cool song. It's simple and mellow and sexy, and has just the right amount of horns. Chris Anderson plays trumpet, and Mark Rivera plays tenor saxophone. Christine sings, "And the world spins 'round; my love pours down/Like honey."

"Love Make You Do Stupid Things" is bluesy rock. While this song is still good, it's less interesting and less effective than the quieter songs. "Bring It With You When You Come" is also standard fare in the bar rock vein. It's fine, but not very original, especially compared with other material on this album.

Duets With Dion DiMucci And Marshall Crenshaw
A church organ starts the soul song "Cry Baby Cry." Dion DiMucci does duet vocals on this song. Yes, Dion from Dion & The Belmonts. It has a cool spoken section less than two minutes in, with a reference to "Tears On My Pillow." It might seem cheesy, but that's okay. It works.

Marshall Crenshaw does duet vocals with Christine on "What's The Matter With You Baby." He also plays electric guitar on that song.

"Girl Growing Up"

"Girl Growing Up" is another really great acoustic track. The acoustic tracks are far more interesting than the more standard sounds of the bluesy rock bar songs. "Girl Growing Up" features Marshall Crenshaw on baritone guitar, and Andy York on acoustic guitar.

The lyrics include, "Marking time to high-heeled shoes, from baby dolls to women's blues/A little wise, but not that much/Girl, growing up."

"The Gone Of You"

"The Gone Of You" is a simple song, but it's effective. It gets right to the point with "I miss the taste of you, the feel of you/The heart and the soul and the real of you/I miss the thought of you, the mind of you/The dark and the light and the sight of you."

The last song is listed as a bonus track. But since this album was never released before, how can it really be a bonus track? Well, no matter. It's another version of "The Gone Of You," and this version might even be better. It really highlights the yearning in Christine's voice and in a sad and perfect way. A wonderful way to end the album.

Christine Ohlman, Songwriter

Christine Ohlman wrote most of the songs on this album. The exceptions are "Cry Baby Cry," which was written by James E. Cason; "What's The Matter With You Baby," which was written by Clarence Paul, William "Mickey" Stevenson and Barney Ales; and "Walkin' Down The Street Called Love," which was written by Fred L. Wray, Sr. Christine co-wrote "The Gone Of You" with Cliff Goodwin.

Musicians On CD

Musicians on this album include Christine Ohlman on vocals and acoustic guitar; Cliff Goodwin on electric guitar; Michael Colbath on bass; Larry Donahue on drums; Andy York on electric guitar, keyboards, bass, acoustic guitar, harmony vocals and tambourine; Shawn Pelton on drums; Al Anderson on electric guitar; Mitch Chakour on Hammond B-3 and harmony vocals; Vic Steffens on drums; Eric "Roscoe" Ambel on electric guitar; Marshall Crenshaw on electric guitar and vocals; Jeff Kazee on keyboards; G.E. Smith on lap steel guitar.

CD Track List
  1. There Ain't No Cure
  2. The Deep End
  3. Like Honey
  4. Love Make You Do Stupid Things
  5. Love you Right
  6. Cry Baby Cry
  7. What's The Matter With You Baby
  8. Bring It With You When You Come
  9. The Cradle Did Rock
  10. Born To Be Together
  11. Girl Growing Up
  12. The Gone Of you
  13. Everybody Got A Heartache
  14. Walkin' Down The Street Called Love
  15. The Gone Of You (After Hours)

The Deep End was released on April 6, 2010 (though the copyright date on the back of the CD is 2009).

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