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Blues In Britain, Issue 143, November 2013

Album review, The Blues Don’t Scare Me, 33 Records 33WM148

This latest from Zoe, husband Rob Koral on guitars, Si Genaro harp, Pete Whittaker Hammond organ, Pat Davey bass (plus a couple of appearances by Rodney Teague) bass and Paul Robinson drums carries on where Good Times left off.

A Catholic mix, from a straight-up take on ‘Billie’s Blues’ (the only cover) and the slow blues threnody on workaday life ‘Just Another Day’, with its tremulous New Orleans funeral band horns, through the slinky, Latin-tinged ‘I’ll Be Yours Tonight’ with Si’s very Adlerish harp, to the Focus-style organ and guitar-rich opener ‘I Believe In You’.  The highly original ‘Lucifer Is Blue’ combines a Chicago blues verse with an off-kilter 4/5 riff, a brooding almost proggy mid-break riff with increasingly showy drumming from Paul, and a Journey-esque coda over which Zoe indulges in non-verbal vocal aerobatics.

Zoe’s phrasing, diction and timbre (reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald, Sara Vaughan and Marion Montgomery) and the confidence and musicianship to step back and allow her super-tight ensemble their own chances to shine, set her apart from the average blues shouter.  Well worth a listen.

words by: Moray Stuart