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.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Alligator Records


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Ephimeral" CD/LP/Track Review Ephimeral
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Moons" CD/LP/Track Review Moons
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 27, 2016
Read "Dawg Yawp" CD/LP/Track Review Dawg Yawp
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Still" CD/LP/Track Review Still
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "Bring Joy" CD/LP/Track Review Bring Joy
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Sunday Bolero" CD/LP/Track Review Sunday Bolero
by James Nadal
Published: June 15, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!