Girls With Guitars (Dani Wilde/Victoria Smith/Samantha Fish)
Live: Blues Caravan 2012
BluesWax Rating: 8 out of 10
A Spicy Delicacy
Captured live from the Music Hall at Worpswede, Germany, on February 11, 2012, the CD/DVD package is a terrific snapshot of these young women who are more than luscious eye candy. Make no mistake about it. These girls are not only strong blue-eyed soul singers but can play the hell out of their axes.
As you can tell from listening to the music on the CD and watching the DVD performance, egos are left at the door. Bassist Victoria Smith is the steadfast anchor holding down the fort with drummer Denis Palatin, the only male member of the band. Their rock-steady groove is what fires up the CD’s opening track, which is the vintage Rolling Stones classic “Bitch,” done at the same speed with a Glimmer Twins approval. The golden oldie “Funk #49, taken from the James Gang vaults, features guitar trade-offs between Dani Wilde and Samantha Fish on their Telecasters that are hot enough to rock anybody’s world.
Taking a page from the history books of the Stax and soul sounds of the 1960s, Wilde’s own compositions are great dance tracks, as in cuts “Don’t Go Making Me Cry” and “Juice Me Up,” with her flesh-on-strings attack (no pick) the perfect counterpoint to Fishe’s licks.
Those owning Runaway, the debut album from Samantha Fish, and not being too knocked out by it, are in for a surprise. This girl can seriously burn. Once again the band tears a page out of the songbook in covering Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You.” Fish leads the band, shifting the dynamics from soft and low to screaming furious. And she just attacks her Telecaster with the fury of a hellhound knocking at your door.
While Wilde comes from the soul side of the tracks, it’s up to Fish to bring her classic rock background to the table. She does just that in her greasy slide-rocking “Leaving Kind” and the slow dirge of “Down In The Swamp.” It seems the classic rock material is her choice and while taking on the FM staple of Steve Miller’s “Jet Airliner” is admirable, it’s pretty much the anticlimax and should have been stuck somewhere in the middle of the set.
The DVD highlight is Fishe’s own tune “Runaway.” Slipping out of her high-heeled shoes and walking into the audience barefoot while onstage the rest of the band lays down the locomotive rhythm, Fish gets the crowd going peeling off hot licks and leads making you wish you were there with your cellphone camera so you can email your friends that this young lady is going to be a strong fixture in the blues community.
But no one plays second fiddle to anyone; in watching these musicians and listening to them on this release, it will be easy in ways to latch on to this. These players are a tight outfit who not only are having fun but rocking up the blues with enough funk, soul, and swamp to make it a spicy delicacy. And it will be great exposure for these ladies when they will be leading their own bands. You couldn’t get a better feather in your cap.
Gary Weeks is a contributing writer at BluesWax.
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