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Toots Lorraine: Make It Easy

C. Michael Bailey By

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Toots Lorraine: Make It Easy
Firstly, who can possibly deny the name "Toots Lorraine?" That name is to the barrelhouse music on Make It Easy as Harmon Killebrew or Dizzy Dean are to baseball. So what's in this name, Toots Lorraine? Well, that's where things expand. Along with husband, guitarist and co-leader of The Traffic, Chad Dent, Lorraine is a potent powerhouse of blues and jump conscience. Collectively, the band is fluent in several blues-related styles largely due to the presence of harmonica player Aki Kumar and keyboard specialist Lorenzo Farrell.

Lorraine opens the disc with the title tune, a West coast jump tune propelled by the overdriven-chromatic harp of Kumar. Here Kumar takes the language of Marion Walter Jacobs and builds upon it, perfecting Little Walter's attempts to emulate a saxophone on the harmonica. His solo is muscular and full-throated: a harmony-driven juggernaut. Kumar retains the tone for "When Did You Stop Tryin'" and evokes with pianist Farrell, a Muddy Waters' vibe when Otis Spann occupied the piano bench.

On "Get Back to Lovin'" Chad Dent plays his best Hubert Sumlin, playing with a wide-open, deeply reverbed overdrive. His solo comes from deep in the Chicago flood. Lorraine spins a bit of gospel covering "Wade in the Water" following that bit of the sacred with Willie Dixon's profane "Built for Comfort" (written for Howlin' Wolf). This is Lorraine's most potent and seamless vocals. Lorraine closes the disc with a Jimmy Vaughan tune, "Love the World," bringing her message of the blues right up to the present day.

Track Listing

Make It Easy; When Did You Stop Tryin’; Let Your Tears Fall; Get Back to Lovin’; Satisfied; Wade in the Water; Built for Comfort; Wrong Side of Love; Chad Mo Shuffle; Low Down Dog; Hindsight; Love the World.

Personnel

Toots Lorraine: vocals; Chad Dant: guitar, vocals (6); Lorenzo Farrell: keyboards; Mike Phillips: bass; June Core: drums and percussion; Aki Kumar: harmonica; Chris Anderson: guitar (5, 12), vocals (6), bass (12), piano (11).

Album information

Title: Make It Easy | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Greaseland Records

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