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Hip Shakin' Mama & the Leg Men - Reclaim Your Land

Self Released

11 tracks

Hip Shakin' Mama (aka Shelly-Lynne Ferguson-Harding) is a woman with a big voice and a fantastic band. She's fronted several bands in various genres in Canada but seems to be at home the most with the blues. She penned each of the tracks here and has laid down a solid set of tracks here on her inaugural CD. From the opening harp blows to the final beats of the last track, this is one fine CD.

Joining Shelly-Lynne are her "Leg Men", Gerry Perkin on guitar, Doug Sullivan on drums, Dave "D'oaks" Oakey on harp, Phil Neville on keys for two tracks, Rob Lamonica on keys and Hammond, and Adrian Kuryliw on bass for one cut. I was completely impressed with these musicians. At times Perkin goes off like Carlos Santana (especially check out track 5- "She Doesn't Want You") with some mean Carlos Santana-like licks; he is obviously an accomplished guitar player. Lamonica bounces from keys to organ and back and adds some great texture to the band and Neville is also ready, willing and able on his pair of tracks. The woman fronting the group is more than up to the task. Her voice is powerful and confident and she blazes through the cuts with controlled abandon- Hip Shakin" Mama really can get down!

The title cut is a catchy track where she sings for her man to reclaim his "land". Great double entendre filled lyrics and a soulful performance! The album opens with "Rooster Stew", a nod to Willie Dixon, one of her favorites. Oakey's harp bleats out to start the bouncy and jumping song, and then Shelly-Lynne takes over with the rest of the band tightly in tow. She smokes through this one and the next, "Devious (Scheming Little Thief)" where her vocals are way out there along with Perkin's guitar. A big cut with a big sound and blazing guitar.

Slower tracks like "She Doesn't Want You" are equally intriguing. She can blast out the uptempo stuff and get sultry and seductive when Mama needs to. Add to that the cool organ and guitar licks and you'll be sitting there wanting more and more. "Funkalicious Sugar Blue" is another one in the down tempo tracks where Shelly-Lynne just gets down and dirty, and the harp play and organ here serves as a great counterpoint to her vocals. 11 original tracks in all, ranging from pretty darn good to really outstanding stuff.

On the liner notes Shelly-Lynne gives credit to her father and husband who have obviously been a huge influences on her. Interestingly, she also credit her hair dresser (among others) for inspiration. I think that's a first for me to read in liner notes, but Hip Shakin' Mama is obviously a gal who places a lot of importance on looking good!

She is a talented and humble gal who is an outstanding performer. My only "criticism" is that she and her band live too damn far away for me to catch them on a weekend. I hope to see them live over the festival seasons coming up. This CD is well worth a spin- in fact, you'll listen to it a lot once you hear it!

Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and work with their Blues In The Schools program.

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