Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Laurie Jane & The 45s: “Midnight Jubilee” (2017) CD Review

Laurie Jane & The 45s are a seriously good blues band based in Louisville, but are not strictly blues, mixing in elements of country and rock and other musical genres to create an engaging and entertaining and totally satisfying sound. The band is made up of Laurie Jane Duggins on vocals; Cort Duggins on guitar, piano and lap steel; Jason Embry on upright bass; and Scott Dugdale on percussion. The band’s newest release, Midnight Jubilee, features mostly original material written by Cort Duggins.

This is a disc that I love right from the start of its first track, “Wait So Long,” country blues with a great groove and some damn good playing. Check out that instrumental section halfway through. Holy moly, each time I listen to that part, it’s a different musician that impresses me most.  Oh yes, it feels like a party, with its loose, excited vibe. And then of course there is Laurie Jane’s vocal performance, which has a casual, honest feel that almost causes you to overlook how talented she is. Because it feels so natural, you know? This is one hell of a good song, one of my personal favorites. It’s followed by “Lucky Boy,” which has a different kind of hook, but is just as effective. It’s a bit slower, a bit more intimate. “Oh, baby, don’t act like you don’t know/That you got lucky, boy, back when I first met you.” Oh, I know, I know.

“Midnight Jubilee,” the CD’s title track is another of the disc’s highlights. The title reminds me of Jon Svetkey’s “Television,” in which he sings “You know I’d love a shopping spree/At K-Mart’s midnight jubilee” (sometimes the store name would change to Walgreens). That song was always a great, high-energy number at those End Construction shows. And this song by Laurie Jane & The 45s is perhaps the CD’s best track. Scott Dugdale starts it off with a good groove on drums, and the song builds from there into a deliciously cool number. Laurie Jane sings, “All night long, that’s all the time I’ll need/I’m going to make you love me/Baby, wait and see.” Oh, I have no doubt of that, and I think it will take even less time. I also love Laurie Jane’s vocal delivery on “Fine By Me,” a track which features some good work on piano (I especially love that piano lead section partway through).

Another of the CD’s highlights is “It’s Been A Long Time,” a very cool blues tune in which Laurie Jane sings, “I’ll miss you in the morning/But I’ll miss you more at night.” Oh yes! And her vocal performance here is sexy. This track features some good work on guitar. “It’s Been A Long Time” is one of the disc’s few covers, and was written by Howard Biggs and Joe Thomas. That’s followed by another bluesy gem, “Couldn’t Cry Alone,” combining country and blues, with a wonderful old-time vibe, particularly in the keyboard part. “It isn’t right, I know/Not to be at home/When I’m missing you/I’m sorry, I couldn’t cry alone/They say that misery/Loves her company/But all I love is you/That’s why I’m sorry/I couldn’t cry alone.” Midnight Jubilee ends with a fun number titled “Not With You,” one to get you on your feet. “Youre trying to bend me, trying to make me sway/Nothing you do is gonna make me break.”

CD Track List
  1. Wait So Long
  2. Lucky Boy
  3. Midnight Jubilee
  4. Howlin’ For My Darlin’
  5. Fine By Me
  6. Down This Road
  7. It’s Been A Long Time
  8. Couldn’t Cry Alone
  9. Got Me Where You Want Me
  10. What’s A Girl To Do
  11. Not With You 
Midnight Jubilee was released on October 27, 2017 on Down In The Alley Records.

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