Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation entry Back in Bluesville by Roxy Perry was selected as the 2006 Best Self Produced CD in Memphis Saturday night. The judges evaluated:
(1) Musical Performance (2) Audio Quality of the Presentation (3) Cover Art and Design (4) Credits and Liner Information
The esteemed final round judges were: Randy Chortkoff (Delta Groove Productions); Bruce Iglauer (Alligator Records);Fred Litwin (NorthernBlues Records); Michael Powers (Yellow Dog Records); and Richard Rosenblatt (Tone Cool Records)
BLUESWAX REVIEW JAN 2006
New York Blues Queen Increases Reign , (01/11/06)
What do you want in a great contemporary Blues album? Perhaps you want moody harmonica; guitars - electric and resophonic Dobro guitar styles - slide; stinging lead; soaring, soulful, Blues-Rock; impressive female torch vocals; full-band arrangements replete with horns (sax, trombone, muted trumpet); clever turn-of-phrase lyrics; rippling or pounding piano; Booker T organ; a dollop of Dixieland Jazz; some fun big band-style Swing; and original songs. Well, that is a pretty tall order for one CD. Here is the good news: Roxy Perry's third self-released album, Back in Bluesville, has it all, and all done tastefully!
Hailing from the New York/New Jersey area, Perry has somehow acquired the title "New York Blues Queen." That sets the bar high, but this album will convince listeners that she rocks and reigns.
Appearing on Back In Bluesville, beside Roxy on vocals and harmonica, are adept locals Dave Fields (guitar, all keyboards, and full production), Tim DeHuff (guitar), Eric Merovitch (sax), Linda Geiger (drums), and her husband Bob Fusco (bass). Also appearing are guests Matt Baxter (Dobro) and Bill Holloman (horns).
The title song, Roxy Perry's big-bang first ballad, will make listeners clear a spot for it in their list of favorite songs for 2005! The style is full-ensemble Blues as opposed to only drums, vocals, and guitar. She's got those three in this song, plus piano and a hot horn section. Roxy employs a clever metaphor here that highlights the type of abuse the protagonist has endured: "Each white line on the road underscores the name of men I've known." "Back in Bluesville" packs a powerful punch. Listeners will go to that sensationally sad city with her for a four-minute vacation!
Best use of metaphor is found in the second song, "Whole Dog." Roxy has got the goods and is willing to share, but not until she gets full commitment. "I need a love that's gonna last," she sings. "I need the whole dog/I'm not gonna be satisfied with just a little piece of tail!"
During "Two Left Feet" Boogie purists will perk up when they hear this song, reminiscent of big-band Swing. It's great fun for those of us who embrace multiple styles of tempo in our definition of the Blues. "Two Left Feet" is about a dude who can't dance and doesn't know it. The best part of this song is when Roxy Perry and her backup-vocal boys try to guess what moves this "dancing fool" who "thinks he's cool" is doing. "Is it the Hustle?" Roxy asks. "No, no, no, no!" moan the males. "Is it the Swim?" "No, no, no, no!" Even if listeners happen to have "Two Left Feet" themselves, they'll have to dance to this one!
"Crooked Path" will make Dobro fans rejoice as it provides some down-home Blues and one might imagine the Louisiana bayou on a warm summer night when listening to it. The not-so-straight-and-narrow road in the title did not lead Perry's narrator to a life of crime or eternal damnation, but back to her old flame. "So many times I've watched the sun go down, and then I wonder why I watch it all alone." She says to her former lover, "It's strange what we put ourselves through." One gets the sense that she regrets walking this "Crooked Path," but only halfway: "All the while I knew the truth!"
The liner notes reveal that, "this album was created with the intention of exploring both modern and traditional Blues styles to their limits." For example, how about a little Dixieland Jazz on "Nothing Like You." It starts out with jazzy piano then adds the brass horns backing Perry's soft vocals. By mid-song, hotly-picked guitar has you marching down Bourbon Street.
Eric Burdon and the Animals made the traditional song "House of the Rising Sun" famous, but Roxy's cover provides a pleasant re-introduction to it. The "House" (of the Rising Sun) is one of negotiable affections and as Roxy reveals in her version, it's "the ruin of many a poor girl, and, God, I know I'm one." Sung by a female, the lyrics provide an entirely different perspective on the song. "I've got to wear that ball and chain" might refer to working at the House, in her case, rather than being a client. You can hear the weary resignation in Roxy's voice and mournful harp.
This is great music; allow Roxy to reign the Blues down on you.
James Walker is a contributing editor at BluesWax
Back in Bluesville
Blue Perry Hill Records
BLUES REVIEW MAGAZINE OCT./NOV. 05
Being the "New York Blues Queen" - a title Roxy Perry either adopted or accepted on her 1998 album of the same name -might not be the hardest distinction to claim. But this leather-clad vocalist has the kind of voice and delivery that could save her throne if Gotham did suddenly get flooded with distaff blues singers; her sound is full, smoky, dark, wise, worldly, and genuine. Most modern "blues queens" are cartoonish parodies of the big blooze mama archetype, but listen to "Midnight Train," which shares more than a word of its title with Patsy Clines's "Walking After Midnight" - like Cline, Perry sounds simultaneously resigned and determined, as if sultry laments were at once a vindication of her struggle and her sexuality. Listen with the corner of your ear, and it sounds as if she's packing up and leaving town; listen with your own pain, and it sounds like a suicide note. How many female blues singers still know how to do that?
The brand of blues Perry works on her third album is mostly urban, moody, and polished (It's filled with sax and piano). But she covers a lot of ground inside those parameters, going for big-band on the title track, boogieing on "Two Left Feet," tightening up the funk-rock genre on "Stone in the Sea," and incorporating Booker T.'s "Green Onions" into "Forgive and Forget." Backup comes from a crack band of locals, with Dave Fields and Tim DeHuff's guitar matching her anguish note-for-note.
She has a way with a phrase, too, taking what could be ordinary stories of love among the barflies and selling them with a clever and utterly honest turn of phrase: She's looking for the "Whole Dog," you understand, "not just a piece of tail." Seldom has the cherished female trophy of commitment sounded so sexy. Perry's voice is just that impressive; it's a rough yet feminine wonder that attempts to carry the tradition of prewar torch singing into the modern age..... Back in Bluesville offers evidence that, whatever the scene is like, she's earned her crown.
Blues Revue Magazine
Issue No. 96 OCT/NOV 2005
ROXY PERRY - Back in Bluesville
BluePerry Hill Records
CD REVIEW by BOB UNGER
The powerful horns on the opening track of this CD roll in like thunder and the rich guitar work generates an electricity that sets us up for a trip we're sure not to forget. "Back in Bluesville" is a powerful blues allegory with Roxy's rich vocals leading us down the road she's been on many, many times before - the road that always leads her back to Bluesville.
This is a superb opening for a long awaited CD, which takes us down many paths in various moods and styles. Roxy's a gutsy and powerful vocalist and her lyrics are as ear catching and clever as ever.
In the horn driven "Whole Dog" Roxy lays it on the line to her lover, proclaiming she's the real deal and he better not fail - She wants the Whole Dog, not just a piece of tail. Roxy's commanding vocals and Eric Merovitch's powerful horns are solid and tight and give this tune its punch.
The rock-oriented "Stone in the Sea" displays Dave Fields' masterful guitar work, as Roxy displays her vulnerable side singing about a Svengali-like relationship wherein she goes down like a Stone in the Sea at his every move and intention.
"Midnight Train" could be Roxy's darkest, yet most determined lyrics yet. The Midnight Train calls her to pack up and leave an abusive relationship. The soundtrack is not what you would expect in a song of this nature as it plays a slow, determined, yet almost upbeat verve. Roxy's voice is subtle when she sings "Tonight's the night my pain will end and you'll never raise a hand to me again," yet you feel the underlying strength and persistence in it.
Switching to an upbeat gear, everyone will know the guy Roxy is singing about in the jiving "Two Left Feet". Whether you play in a band or go out to hear one, there's always that guy out there on the dance floor, screaming for more and doing the absolute worst dance routine humanly possible. As Roxy states "He's gotta be my biggest fan. He's at every gig I land!"
The opening notes to "Get It" bring to mind the Mills Brothers classic "Opus One," but then Roxy chimes in and brings this jumpy number around her way. It's a fun tune with Roxy cautioning, "You better get it while I still got it."
Against the backdrop of a Booker T-style riff, the keyboard driven "Forgive and Forget" tells of being "Lied to and cheated - Wronged and mistreated." Dave Fields' keyboard and Tim DeHuff's guitar work keep the tune flowing as Roxy laments how she can't just Forgive and Forget.
The lightly funky/rockish "Do It" has Roxy letting it all out by telling her long time admirer to stop playing around and just "Do It". A funky-choppy guitar underscores Roxy's frustration and her harp solo fits well into this lighter track.
Matt Baxter, Roxy's collaborator on her previous CD, "Roxy Perry - New York Blues Queen," makes a special appearance playing dobro on the one tune he and Roxy wrote together for the CD, "Crooked Path." Baxter displays his superb slide-playing skills on this Delta-style burner with Roxy's harp and vocals lamenting "It's a wonder what life puts us through - and it's that crooked path that led me back to you."
Also featured on the CD is celebrated multi-musician Bill Holloman who is credited with "All Horns" on the one tune he plays on - the big easy, jazzy New Orleans inflected swing number "Nothing Like You." Here Roxy boasts to her new lover's ex, "No headaches do I fake. We got hot loving every night - thanks to your mistakes."
The CD's only cover song is the traditional "House of the Rising Sun." This song previously appeared on the 2002 Grammy nominated compilation CD "Public Domain" [Purchase Records] "It sounds nothing like anybody else's version. I can almost throw a copyright on it for the arrangement," Perry said. A haunting harp and guitar compliment the song behind Roxy's emotional parable.
This is Roxy Perry's third CD. All the players on the CD are here in full force. Bob Fusco on bass and Linda Geiger on drums lay down the backbone as the canvas for all the colors of this journey. Eric Merovitch's thundering horns open the CD and in particular are the driving force behind "Whole Dog," and he keeps it right and tight throughout the CD. Guitarist Tim DeHuff's tasteful style appears on three tracks complimenting Roxy's colorful vocals. Dave Fields' guitar and keyboard work follow Roxy down every street of Bluesville.
Roxy Perry has a lot to say on Bluesville, covering the many moods of her personality; witty and jazzy to pensive and determined but always up front giving you the full strength of her enormous talent. While the CD's foundation is in the blues, the tracks touch on rock, jazz, and even a bit of country. According to the liner notes, Roxy proclaims, "This album was created with the intention of exploring both modern and traditional blues styles to their limits, as we do in our live show." They have succeeded in their intentions.
Back in Bluesville is currently available on CDBaby.com, and there's more info about Roxy on www.RoxyPerry.com.
Back in Bluesville
BluePerry Hill Records
Roxy Perry, vocals and harp; Dave Fields, guitar and keyboards; Tim DeHuff, guitar; Eric Merovitch, saxophone; Bob Fusco, bass; Linda Geiger, drums; Matt Baxter, dobro; Bill Holloman, horns
Roxy Perry, widely heralded as the NY blues queen, has now completed her third CD. An accomplished composer, she wrote ten of the eleven tunes, and her lyrics speak to the constant search for meaning. The original tunes on this effort cover a diverse range of subjects and emotions.
The title cut of interprets the travails on the blues road, which always bring her back to Bluesville. Perry's satiny vocals caress the ballad "Midnight Train" with polished emotion on lyrics that relate to an abusive relationship. On "Crooked Path," Baxter's splendid slide guitar displays a Delta blues influence on this upbeat lament. "Nothing like You" has a Jazz-influenced Dixieland rhythm on Perry's sultry vocals. A humorous vocal take on "Two Left Feet" is delightful on this jump blues tune. "Stone in the Sea" is a light rock adventure with tasteful guitar support. "Forgive and Forget" is bluesy number with a vibrant vocal rendering. The cover of "House of the Rising Sun" features a soulful Perry on harmonica and smoldering vocals in a delightful arrangement of this traditional tune.
This CD is resplendent with original material sensitively rendered with taste by the formidable band members. Roxy Perry has an alluring voice which she uses to great effect. This is a good one that goes beyond the blues!
by Dorothy L. Hill
Jazz Now Magazine
Back to: August 2005 Vol. 15 No. 4 Table of Contents
Check out the artist's website:
1. Back in Bluesville
2. Whole Dog
3. Midnight Train
4. Crooked Path
5. Nothing Like you
6. Two Left Feet
7. Stone in the Sea
8. Get It
9. Forgive and Forget
10. Do It
11. House of the Rising Sun