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South Side Cindy & The Slip-Tones - This Time

Sour Wine Records

10 songs; 40:52 minutes; Splendid

Style: Blues-Rock; R&B; Pop; Torch

I am still lobbying for a DVD release from South Side Cindy & The Slip-Tones! From the signature vibrato in Cindy’s powerful vocals to the harmonies with band mate Wendy Gossett to the expert musicianship and song craftsmanship of the band, one can “feel” the energy of their live shows on this CD. But, one can not “see” their dressed up stylish stage show, dancing, facial expressions, sweat, and instrument playing that are the trademarks of a SSC & TS-T live showcase. One could hire them to play at a wedding, if he / she doesn’t mind completely upstaging the bride and groom!

“This Time” is the band’s fourth CD in four years, and, according to their website, “This project was born in the joy of writing and making music” and attracted some friends as guest musicians and a co-song writer. All ten tracks are originals credited to, variously, Cindy Youngren and Steve Youngren (also on guitars), various band members, all band members, and a friend. Eric Johnson returns on bass propelling the engine room with Dan Diefendorf on drums, and Jim Donahue is back on keyboards.

By the time the last song (and title track) was almost finished playing, my wife called from the other room, “Who are we listening to?” That is always a sign that she likes the CD, and trust me, she fussily does not like them all. Featuring saxophone opening and two solos courtesy of guest Dave Parkinson, “This Time” swells instrumentally and vocally with power and wrenching emotion as Cindy portrays a broken protagonist pleading with a remote lover, “This time, I need you to pick me up...carry me through!” As she hits the word “time,” Wendy Gossett joins for head turning harmony. I’ll be playing this one on my radio show this week without fail.

The CD opens with “Light The Fire,” which is an apropos introduction for this diverse collection that is guaranteed party material.

Track two, “Black Little Heart,” opens with Steve Youngren’s voodoo sounding, shimmering lead guitar soon followed by more twin vocal harmonies from Cindy and Wendy. It also contains some shimmering organ by Jim Donahue with one layer that tricked my wife and I both into thinking the phone was ringing in the other room.

As haunting as track two is, the repeated title lyrics of track three’s “January Rain” is authentic enough to give cold chills.

Track four, “Dreams and Games” adds congas by guest Bill Duncan trading opening licks with Steve on acoustic guitar.

Track five is eighteen seconds of unexpected fun. It is the sounds of a party with a vinyl record skipping at the end of side one. Finally Cindy says, “Hey, somebody turn that record over, will ya!” Just don't do an absent-minded-flash-back and turn the “CD” over, you Baby Boomers, when you hear it.

Check the lyrics on “You Are My Friend” for a frank and realistic but fun assessment of what real friends are like. There’re also great guitar licks and cascading piano.

“On Your Own” is my second favorite cut full of complex Spanish rhythms and an upbeat, true full band approach topped by Cindy’s charging vocals and Wendy’s faithful harmony. Steve throws down his fiercest guitar solo mid song accented by Duncan’s congas.

While a little light on Blues content, there is much here to like, not the least being South Side Cindy’s ability to project herself into song roles where she exudes standout emotions like an actress. Each CD brings the band more attention. Maybe “This Time” they will break out to the attention they deserve (and then consider making a DVD- hint hint).

Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL
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