290

Janiva Magness: The Devil is an Angel Too

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Janiva Magness: The Devil is an Angel Too
Just one listen to The Devil is an Angel Too, Janiva Magness' ninth album and second for Chicago's venerated blues label Alligator, immediately reveals why she's the Blues Music Awards' reigning "Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year" and "B.B. King Entertainer of the Year" (only the second female to cop the "Entertainer" honor—Koko Taylor was the first).

For sure, Magness knows about the blues. Once a foster child deemed "at risk," Magness' musical talents illuminated her life's path; she dedicates this release "to all Foster Youth and Alumni" and her liner notes include links to several online organizations devoted to this same cause. She's also serving for her fourth consecutive year as national spokesperson for Casey Family Programs, which promotes National Foster Care Month.

Fronting a band co-led by multi-instrumentalists David Darling (founder and leader of the Boxing Ghandis) and her husband Jeff Turmes, Magness' cyclone of a voice sometimes seems to echo Janis Joplin's vocal ghost, swinging all the way from her heels to belt out the country-fried "Walkin' in the Sun," and twirling like a banshee through this gritty, lowdown title track.

Magness (or somebody) sure knows how to pick her cover versions. They re-craft and re-energize "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down," popularized by Graham Parker during his prime with The Rumour, into a contemporary blues, guitars sawing into the melody and drums hammering the pieces back together, and the throaty edge to her voice steeped in back-road whiskey and country tobacco, husky whispers of Janis's wild-child wailing.

She also slow grinds "I Want to Do Everything For You" (by Joe Tex) into a sexy and swivel-hipped blues, then snarls and moans the woman left behind blues in "Homewrecker" from the witheringly acid pen of Nick Lowe, a steamrolling arrangement which Magness' band absolutely flattens.

In the context of Magness' upbringing and this album's dedication, lines such as "It's a new life for me" help this slow-burning version of "I'm Feelin' Good" resonate with deep emotional power.

Track Listing

The Devil Is An Angel; I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down; Slipped, Tripped & Fell in Love; I'm Feelin' Good; Weeds Like Us; Walkin' in the Sun; End of Our Road; Save Me; I Want to Do Everything for You; Your Love Made a U-Turn; Homewrecker; Turn Your Heart in My Direction.

Personnel

Janiva Magness: vocals; Jeff Turmes: bass, guitar, baritone sax, slide guitar; Dave Darling: guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, backing vocals; Stephen Hodges: drums, percussion; Zach Zunis: guitar; Ted Andreadis: Wurlitzer organ, Hammond organ, keyboards; Arlan Schierbaum: Farfisa organ, Hammond organ, piano; Gary Davenport: bass; Ernie Perez: backing vocals; Brie Darling: backing vocals, percussion; Gonzalo Bergara: acoustic guitar; Stevie Blacke: strings; Spanky D: backing vocals.

Album information

Title: The Devil is an Angel Too | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Alligator Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read A Walk in the Park
A Walk in the Park
Jerry Cook Quartet +
Read New Aurora
New Aurora
Michael Sarian
Read Unnavigable Tributaries
Unnavigable Tributaries
Vicente / Brice / Sanders
Read How To turn the Moon
How To turn the Moon
Angelica Sanchez & Marilyn Crispell
Read The Path
The Path
Chien Chien Lu
Read Golden Daffodil
Golden Daffodil
Leslie Beukelman
Read Message from Groove and GW
Message from Groove and GW
The Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band
Read Duos & Trios
Duos & Trios
Armaroli - Schiaffini - Sjostrom

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.