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Jackie Johnson "Memphis Jewel"
Jackie Johnson's "Memphis Jewel" marks the fourth CD in a row that I have reviewed that contains music of a genre that I must admit is not my favorite, that being R&B and Soul, and it also marks the fourth CD in a row that I came out really quite enjoying a lot more then I thought I would.
"Memphis Jewel" marks Jackie Johnson's debut release for Catfood Records and in Jackie, features an artist whom many believe is more than able to be stepping in the shoes of some of the previous greats, such as, Aretha Franklin and Etta James, and after listening to "Memphis Jewel", I for one am a believer in that statement.
Jackie Johnson has been a bright star on the music scene for quite a while and is considered part of the newer stronger vocalists out there such as Johnny Rawls, Mavis Staples, and Bettye LaVette. She has been hailed as "The Best Female Vocalist of the Year", by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (Memphis Chapter). Highly sought after as a back up singer, with stints all over the world including London's Royal Albert Hall, Jackie Johnson continues down fames path with absolutely nothing but bright stars ahead for her. With "Memphis Jewel", Jackie Johnson has hit her stride big time.
"Memphis Jewel" consists of 11 tantalizing Tracks of which Jackie Johnson co-wrote 2 of them with her husband Van Johnson. Of the 9 covers on "Memphis Jewel", I must say that one of my favorites was her interpretation of the Smokey Robinson's hit "The Tears of a Clown", which she had no problem breathing fresh new life into.
Besides Jackie Johnson, there are a multitude of Special Guests including Reba Russell, Johnny McGhee, Lance Keltner, and Johnny Rawls which whom Jackie performs a Duet with on the Track "Love You Still".
Surprisingly, I found "Memphis Jewel" to be even more entertaining for the fact that Jackie Johnson's use of her voice isn't in the same line as, lets say a Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey, whom I feel at times spend to much time trying to impress us with their over use of high notes. Jackie Johnson's vocals are certainly strong, but that strength comes from the gentleness and smoothness in the way her vocals are delivered, in the same manner as Sade and early Janis Ian.
For me, "Memphis Jewel" was an extraordinary introduction to a great artist I had not heard of before and although not my favorite type of music, she still caught my attention and really got me enjoying her style, for which I am very grateful for.
"Memphis Jewel" should continue to rocket Jackie Johnson into the mainstream with the great vocalists out there today, as she certainly deserves to be recognized for the exceptional talent that she is.
For the shear depth of Quality, Production, and Music on "Memphis Jewel", I give it my Highest rating of 5*****. For more Soulful style Blues, I Highly Recommend you give this one a listen.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
1. It Should Have Been Me 4:22
2. Nothing Lasts Forever 3:34
3. Do Ya 4:37
4. The Tears of a Clown 3:50
5. Love You Still 3:45
6. Brightside 3:08
7. Will You Be MIne 3:37
8. Clean Up Woman 3:07
9. Wash Your Hands 4:16
10. Rain 3:49
11. Keep the Faith 3:58
Listen To Samples Here...