CEE CEE JAMES
"SERIOUSLY RAW" ~ Roy Brown - Washington Blues Society:
Outside of Portland, several years ago, a little girl that her mother called Christina took her mom's hand on the way to Sunday services. She was thrilled by the voices, the passion that came with voices; Christina was driven by something deep inside and had to join in. She never strayed far from those voices. As time passed, one emerged. Singing her passion became the life journey of Cee Cee James. She is not only one of us, she is one of ours, spending her days in the small northwest village of Langley, on Whidbey Island while spilling her guts for the northwest blues scene, night after night.
Dropping her childhood name, and coming off a huge success of the first blues genre album, Low Down Where The Snakes Crawl, her second blues CD was recorded last fall at the Sunbanks Rhythm and Blues Festival. Soon to be released is Seriously Raw, Live at Sunbanks. While 'Snakes' was a bit of a concept album and musically went in multiple directions, the upcoming release is an outdoor, pure party buffet of blues, blues / rock, and with just a sprinkling of straight ahead rock and roll (check out her version of Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits" as arranged Cee Cee James style.
The record starts out pure blues covering "Crossroads" the likes of which you won't believe if you are thinking Robert Johnson. If he could hear this version today, a smile would come over his face. Next comes 'I Ain't Superstitious' again nothing like Willie Dixon, but more traditional than Crossroads. Cee Cee's writing is showcased in the next three tunes, penned for the former and the upcoming studio album slated for a fall release. Crowd response says it all when you are talkin' music that touches the soul. Comparisons to Janis Joplin will never stop. Instead of fighting it, Cee Cee embraces it with a Janis tribute on the next two cuts, 'Mercedes Benz' and 'Bobby McGee.' My very favorite Cee Cee James cover is Luther Allison's 'House of the Blues.' It's on this record, and it is well worth the price of admission just to have this song.
Cee Cee is backed on this record by the one and only Chris Leighton on drums with Dan Mohler on bass and "Slide Boy" Rob Andrews on slide and rhythm guitar. This combination makes up one of the tightest rhythm sections in blues music. On lead guitar Jason Childs is not a screaming, mind numbing player, but one who produces an intricacy of notes and chords, and an intimacy of feel that turns your head in his direction when he takes a solo.
Cee Cee James is a near term future national talent, and she is breaking out right now. Seriously Raw is a five star record.