Tia Carroll - Live!
Big Cat Records
Tia Carroll is a Bay Area blues woman with a big, sultry voice who can keep an audience charged up and wrapped around her finger. Tia recently toured Italy with great success and is a staple out in the California music scene. This third CD release of her career features the singer belting out ten live tunes in the manner of former great blues women, and she appears to be the real deal.
The first three cuts show us up front what Tia Carrol can do with a song. She begins her album with a very convincing cover of "Let the Juke Joint Jump". Her backup band Hard Work is very solid in supporting her here and throughout. Jimmy Smith (from Vallejo) on keys and Joel Cohen (from Paris) on guitar are quite good and Artie Chavez on drums and Tom Towers on bass are solid Bay Area musicians who keep the beat going strong. Her take on "Don’t Put Your Hands On Me" channels a little bit of Koko Taylor and following that Carroll gives us "Hound Dog" in true Big Mama Thornton style, but both songs are delivered with somewhat of a Tia Carroll twist.
She continues strong with her single, "2 Drink Minimum" and then turns in a great cover of "Matchbox". At this point, the CD totally switches gears when Carroll covers Delbert McClinton’s "Giving it Up for Your Love". It really is a contrast to the first five tunes. It’s not at all bad, but I prefer her take on the blues than to a more of a "pop country" tune. She does approach this song from an R&B perspective. Then Carroll goes off to the heavy blues rock world with "Pay Attention", featuring a big, fuzzy guitar line along with Carroll’s vocals.
Tia is back to the blues world in "If I Didn’t Know" and then gets quite deeply soulful in "Had Your Love"; included in this track is some nice, un-credited saxophone punctuating her lyrics. She closes with another R&B number "No Good 4 Me" where she delivers another strong performance. I might have sequenced a few of the tracks differently, but all in all Carroll delivers ten strong performances and showcases her instrument.
In 2007 Ms. Carroll was nominated as "Best Traditional Blues Woman" by the Jus Blues Music Foundation. She was awarded "Female Blues Vocalist Of The Year" by the West Coast Blues Hall Of Fame in the same year. I listened to a lot of her other live stuff on line and believe me in saying we’ll be hearing a lot more from her soon!
Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL
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