The best musicians transcend styles and techniques. They deliver their hearts and souls, connecting on a primal level, one on one with each and every listener. Karen Carroll is just such an artist and one of the most universal artists to come on the scene since Nina Simone. Within one line, indeed alomst one word of a song, she can lay down the grit of Howlin' Wolf stroked by the sass of Sarah Vaughan. Talk to the Hand features six Karen Carroll originals and a blues style, heavily influenced by gospel, all her own. Of her first album, Had My Fun , critics had this to say: "Karen Carroll appears poised to make her bid for blues queen of Chicago--her thundering performance should leave the competition quaking." Stephen Sharp, Living Blues. "Karen has an instrumental quality to her vocals--a quality usually reserved to describe the world-class artistry of Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan." Larry Hoffman, King Biscuit Times.
1. Ain't It Nice
2. I'm Glad
3. Don't Make Me Wait
4. Tired Of Being Mistreated
5. Can't Fight The Blues
6. I Need A Friend
7. Talk To The Hand
8. Do I Move You?
9. Misty Blue
10. Sweet Home Chicago
11. Neked J Blues
12. How Blue Can You Get
13. Please Come Back Home
With husky-voiced Carroll lurching into "Ain't It Nice" and electric guitarist
Walter Scott putting the big snarl into the mix, the show gets off to a great
start. Carroll effortlessly changes gears, swinging into a horn-graced r&b
gem, dipping into a pop-soul ballad and rocking the house with a gospel-charged
cooker. Highlights include the spirited title track with its churchy organ and
riffing horn support, a moving version of "Misty Blue" and the tear-jerking
country music-styled blues "Please Come Back Home." But the best performance
comes during Carroll's slow-burning talking blues "Neked J blues," which segues
into a heart-bleeding take on "How Blue Can You Get."
(Four Stars) -Dan Ouelette, Down Beat
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