FREE Subscription - For more information  CLICK HERE



Back To Reviews page

Sista Jean and C.B. - Back to the Root

Freckle Bandit Music (BMI)

10 songs; 46:24 minutes

Styles: Roots Music, Mellow Acoustic Blues

When aficionados mention “the roots of the blues,” of what are they speaking? Are they thinking of cities such as Chicago and New Orleans? Perhaps they have mental images of masters like Muddy Waters. Maybe they’re pondering what makes early blues unique, including measured bars and repeated lyrics in an A-A-B rhyme scheme. In this case, the answer is “all of the above!” On their debut album, Los Angeles music scene veterans Sista Jean McClain and Carlyle Barriteau (C.B.) are going “Back to the Root” in a solid outing. Here are three out of ten original selections that prove this point perfectly:

Track 1: “Back It Up Train”--This is the CD’s best example of acoustic blues for three reasons: 1) it’s an instant earworm; 2) its message is quintessential: “send my baby home to me”, and 3) one of two guests, Troy Dexter, plays accompanying Dobro in an understated yet awesome fashion! Sista Jean may not have Janis Joplin’s trademark wail mastered, but her other butter-rich vocals make up for it. Nice placement putting “Back It Up Train” as the first song on “Back to the Root;” it “chugs” into listeners’ heads with lightning speed!

Tack 3: “Don’t Want What U Got”--Those who search for a sneering rant to a lousy lover will be disappointed here, but not those who prefer poignancy. This song’s best feature is its deep lyrics: “‘No promises or demands’ was always the way I kept things close at hand. But now I’m ready to change, and with God willing, I know I can stand!” Here is a ballad for everyone in a relationship who’s “always there at the end” [the breakup], but “never there for the finish” [a peaceful resolution to problems instead of a breakup]. Beware: it’s a tearjerker!

Tracks 2 and 8 feature the other guest, David Vidal, on harmonica and slide Pedal Steel.

Track 10: “You Can Dance to the Bluez”-- Die-hard purists will likely object thusly, “It’s obvious why the last word of this song’s title has a ‘z’ in it. It misrepresents our favorite musical genre entirely!” Nevertheless, the goal of Track 10 on this album is to propel people onto the dance floor instead of soapbox-debating whether or not it’s “real” blues. It’s peppy and highly enjoyable no matter what. There’s no chance of a grouchy mood sticking around while “You Can Dance...” reverberates from one’s CD player! C.B.’s up-tempo guitar hook is irresistible.

On the band’s website, Sista Jean explains, “I feel like I’m finally coming full circle with the music and with the direction I want to take it…As long as you can sing, the people will want you time and time again. We’re laying everything on the line now!” One thing’s for sure: in returning “Back to the Root,” Sista Jean and C.B. have found theirs.

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 32 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

To submit a review or interview please contact:

For more information please contact:


Home  |  Contact  |  Submit Your Blues News - Advertise with Blues Blast Magazine
 Copyright - Blues Blast Magazine
2010    Design by: Moxi Dawg Design