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Suzie Vinnick "Me 'N' Mabel"
 It is always the start of a new adventure whenever I receive an album for review, especially when it is from an artist whom I certainly knew about, but had never yet listened to their music. The adventure starts with the CD cover, as I try to figure out what the meaning is to the album name. In most cases that is fairly simple, as I thought Suzie Vinnick's "Me 'N' Mabel" was a no brainer and that the title "Me 'N' Mabel" referred to the fact that Mabel was an older Blues great she was paying homage to, but that was not the case. You see Mabel is actually the name of her Guitar, a "Canadian built maple and spruce Larrivee parlour guitar. " Suzie Vinnick plays Mabel on 10 of the albums 14 Tracks and also plays a 1957 Gibson LG2 and a 1929 National Duolian on this album.
"Me 'N' Mabel" consists of 14 Tracks of which Suzie Vinnick wrote 1 (Track 13 "Oh My"), and co-wrote 4 with the following, Kristi Magraw (Track 4 "Save Me For Later"), David Leask & Liz Tansey (Track 9 "The Honey I Want"), Dan Kershaw (Track 11 "Sometimes I Think I Can Fly"), and Rita Chiarelli ("Get Some" Track 7). For the 9 Covers Suzie Vinnick chose a great selection of music from a wildly diverse group of Legendary and almost Legendary artists which included James A. Lane, Bob Dylan, Samuel Smith, Percy Mayfield, James H. Moore, Willie Dixon, Roy Forbes, Lonnie Mack, and Hoyt Axton. Joining Suzie Vinnick on several of the Tracks were Tony Diteodoro (Guitar), Rick Fines (Guitars/Vocals), Chris Whiteley (Cornet), and Roly Platt (Harmonica). Tony Diteodoro, commonly referred to as Tony D, is the Guitarist for MonkeyJunk. "Rick Fines is a veteran of the folk and blues circuits in North America" and has played and recorded with Suzie Vinnick on numerous occasions. Chris Whiteley "is a singer, composer, bandleader, multi-instrumentalists and session musician living in Toronto who specializes in Blues, Jazz and Roots Music." "For the past 30 years, Roly Platt remains one of Canada’s premier harmonica players. To date, he has been recorded on over 1000 national commercials, TV/ film scores and album cuts."
"Me 'N' Mabel" marks the first Blues album that Suzie Vinnick has put out under her own name, which might seem a little strange when you consider the talent has always been there to do so, especially with already winning Canadian Maple Blues Awards 6 times, with fellow Blues players, and being nominated many more times than that. The albums she has released, which were Folk-Roots albums have all received critical acclaim, including one that earned her a Juno nomination.
The first thing that got my attention when I started to listen to "Me 'N' Mabel" was Suzie Vinnick's exceptionally unique and wonderful vocals. Certainly her Guitar work is second to none, but it is her Vocals that are truly the icing on the cake, something that really got my attention when I listened to Suzie's and Rita's co-written Track 7 "Get Some". It is not easy to capture the excitement that is written into a Rita Chiarelli song, co-written or otherwise, but Suzie Vinnick managed to do that and more on this one. With a voice like Suzie's, it is no wonder reviewers are saying things like, "She can be sexy, humorous, struttin’ her stuff, sassy or heartbroken. With her impeccable sense of dynamics, Suzie’s voice commands attention ."
With "Me 'N' Mabel", Suzie Vinnick not only offers up a great selection of songs but she also offers up a sense of intimacy with her fans. "Me 'N' Mabel" really feels like she is singing to you and nobody else, which is not an easy thing to capture on an album.
"Me 'N' Mabel" contains a lot of great songs as you can well imagine from the list of greats Suzie Vinnick covered, but I must say that my favorite song on "Me 'N' Mabel" was the one she co-wrote with Dan Kershaw (Track 11 "Sometimes I Think I Can Fly"). That song was just Suzie and Suzie alone, playing on the 1929 National Duolian. A wonderful and moving song, that could easily bring a tear to ones eye.
"Me 'N' Mabel" marks a exciting new chapter in Suzie Vinnick's career and at the same time offers up an exciting new chapter for her fans.
"Me 'N' Mabel" gets my Highest Rating of 5*****. Highly Recommended and Thoroughly Enjoyed.
Suzie Vinnick is yet another Canadian musical treasure.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
The above review was revised April 1, 2012, which updated and corrected info concerning Rita Chiarelli.
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