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Janiva Magness - What Love Will Do

Alligator Records

Run Time: 48:00

I don’t really have to explain who Janiva Magness is and was or where she’s going. In her own words, the blues chose her. She was born to do it. On her first “major” label release with Alligator Records, Janiva does not stray from the path. With firey, impassioned vocals you aren’t going to find anyone in the blues world more real and honest these days. Almost a complete soul album, Janiva gives us looks at Candi Staton, Little Milton, Tina Turner, Al Green, Bill Withers, Dorothy Moore, and Marvin Gaye. With acclaimed producer Dave Darling at the controls, this album will surely get a lot of attention next February in Memphis and probably Los Angeles with the Grammy folks.

Janiva hammers into Little Milton’s “That What Love Will Make You Do” come straight at you with the pulse of her rich voice and the blare of the Memphis-like horns. It’s hellfire that Janiva spews forth on one of the tracks penned by husband Jeff Turmes called “You Sound Pretty Good” that chronicles the ins and outs and ups and downs of the music business that delivers the extreme knockout blow on the album. Probably autobiographical, Janiva’s guile and sass comes to a head in this great kiss off to all those A&R men and record execs who never give people a chance who don’t have some kind of flash-in-the-pan gimmick to sell. The slow ballads will make you swoon and the deep soul delivered from the heart will candy coat your world the brief 48 minutes this album spins to its entirety.

Another great note to point to on the album is the crispness of all the musicians on the album and the length of the tracks. Never victim of overplaying and never allowing the tracks to drag on longer than they should, this album’s hallmark is its great homage to the soul genre which it represents. Did you ever notice a lot of your old favorite soul and classic R&B and blues songs never ran over 3 minutes? Janiva and company keep it to that simple formula here.

This may not be one of Janiva’s more “bluesy” releases but the influence is here. You don’t hear about many good soul records anymore. Janiva’s going to be around for a long long time. This album will only further cement the fact that she could sing you the phone book and it’ll get recognition somewhere. Visit Janiva on Myspace at:

Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

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