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July 2009

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Candye Kane
Delta Groove

Candye Kane

It was in Memphis at the Delta Groove Showcase after the BMAs that Candye Kane debuted her infamous Wonder Woman outfit and songs from her first release on Delta Groove, Superhero. It was a fitting performance by Candye that won me over with her heartfelt thanks at all that the blues community has done for her over the past year. Candye’s fight with pancreatic cancer is well-documented and Phoenix blues players joined others around the world to stage benefits on her behalf to help pay what had to be an astronomical medical bill for her surgery and treatment.

I don’t want to dwell on it much more than that but it was clear to me back then, and it’s clear to me now, Candye Kane is one fortunate woman whose very survival was predicated on the love of her family and the love and support of her blues family as well. She has a lot to say on her new record, so let’s get to it.

Fittingly, the title track, “Superhero,” is up first. As she says in her liner notes, you don’t have to be a super hero to transcend your challenges; you just have to think like one! “I’m a super hero…I keep on fighting…there’s no way I’m lying down and dying…I’m wonder woman…I’m here to stay…if you can’t help me…get out of my way!” “Superhero” is just one of several positive anthems Candye wrote during her illness to keep her focused on the positive. “Hey, Toughen Up” is another. “Hey, toughen up…hey, get tough…you got everything…its there for you baby…all you got to do is dream!” The latest addition to Candye’s band is guitarist Laura Chavez whose Stratocaster is laying down the attitude in this tune. I first got to meet Laura at the Women in Blues festival a couple of years ago and I’m glad to see she’s gotten an opportunity to show everyone her talents by playing in Candye’s band. Laura also produced this record with Candye so she, too is a woman of many talents.

Next up is “I Put a Hex on You.” Candye said in Eureka Springs that she wrote this tune in response to the man responsible for breaking poor Laura’s heart. True or not, this man is in some serious trouble. “I said an incantation…you ain’t got a prayer…I burned your picture…with a black cat bone…stuck a needle in a doll…that looks like you alone…I put a hex on you!”

Laura’s guitar cranks up the introduction to our next tune, “I’m a Bad, Bad Girl.” “I’m just a bad girl…and I’ve been bad most every day!” Candye’s trying to chase the bad spirits away but she’s not been having much luck. “I don’t know what’s the matter…trouble always follows me!” One of the guest performers on Superhero is Greg Rutledge and it’s his keyboard skills that are featured on our next tune, “Ik Hou Van Je (I Love You)”. Candye is taking advantage of her world travels to dispense a lesson on how to say I love you in several languages. Definitely a cute tune and swing dancers everywhere will enjoy this one.

The edge in Laura’s guitar tells us that Candye is angry in our next cut, “Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed?” “Who’s been sleeping in my bed…who’s been loving you baby…I came in through the front door…I know I heard the back door slam!” Literally caught with his pants down, this is not going to end well for the current object of Candye’s affections. At this point it’s worth mentioning that Candye’s current band is very tight. Laura, bass player Paul Loranger and of course, Candye’s son Caleb, all took the year off while Candye was recovering and waited for her to be able to get back on the road. They’ve been together for awhile now and Candye is blessed to be backed by such a talented group of players.

Our next tune, “Don’t Cry for Me New Jersey,” is an ode to a lover Candye evidently had in New Jersey. “I won’t lie to you my sweet…I can now admit defeat…your rejection sandwich…is one that I can’t eat…don’t cry for me New Jersey!” I like the funky beat on the next cut, “You Need Love”. Candye’s version of this Willie Dixon classic is well done and a good choice as we move on to her duet with Mitch Kashmar, “I Like ‘Em Stacked Like That.” Kid Ramos is on the guitar for this tune as Candye and Mitch banter back and forth over what they like in a lover. This duet is my favorite cut on the disc. “I like them smooth and fine…if you take your time…you can be all mine…I like them smooth and fine!” Mitch then lends his harp to Candye’s next song, “Till You Go Too Far.” “How do you know if you’ve gone far enough…baby till you go too far!” Candye has definitely led an interesting life and if anyone knows how far too far is, it's Candye!

“Picture of You” is the first real ballad on Candye’s disc and a nice change of pace. “I may be a drifter…with time on my hands…baby, I never fit into your plans…but when I need you…you always come through…I pull out my picture…my picture of you." When things get tough, Candye has a positive memory that always gets her through. The tempo picks back up on our next tune, “You Can’t Stop Me From Loving You.” Seems wherever Candye goes, she can’t manage to get rid of the memory of the one she loves. “I got to take it with me…I got to carry it along…Oh, it won’t be forever…it’s the only heart I own…this love of mine…you can’t stop me from loving you!”

This theme of unrequited love continues on “I Didn’t Listen to my Heart.” Caught between affection and intuition, Candye seems to choose affection. Jonny Viau makes a guest appearance on saxophone and hopefully Candye is starting to make better decisions. “When that voice tells me it’s not right…I always listen….my intuition…I can save us both tonight…cause I always listen to my heart!”

The baritone guitar of Dave Gonzalez sets the tone for Candye’s next tune, “Throw it In the Trash Can Love”. It’s pretty obvious what to do what comes next. “It was a dumpster love…it was a sweatshop love…it was not my size…though it fit like a glove…it was two-bit, sales tag…99 cent store love!”

Superhero closes appropriately with another of the positive affirmations, “I’m Gonna Be Just Fine,” that Candye sang to herself while recovering. “I’m going to be just fine…I’m going to live til 109…I’m going to be just fine!” You can bet your bottom dollar that Candye is definitely going to try to hang in there til 109 and more power to her.

If I dig around my house long enough, I can find a poster that Candye signed for me years ago when touring in support of her first release on Antone’s records. On it she wrote, “Bigger is better.” Today, 100 pounds lighter and grateful for the second chance she’s been given, it seems appropriate to tell Candye, “Girl, you were fine all the time!”

Superhero is a very positive affirmation of the second chance Candye’s been given and a worthy addition to your CD collection. Grab it from her at the next show she does in your part of the country or order it from her website, It’s definitely worth the listen.

--- Kyle Deibler



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