Life Goes On
This jewel of a CD sparkles in all its facets: song content; brilliant performances of all the players; arrangements; recording and production. Monica Dupont, whose music career began over forty years ago, is at the helm of many gems on this CD. Her wonderful ability to write a wide variety of songs is outstanding. She wrote seven of the ten songs on this album, using blues as the foundation and playing not only various shades of blues, but expanding influences to R&B, rockabilly, funk, jazz, country boogie, and soul. She also introduced new instruments such as vibes, timbales, and congas. All these things have made these songs exciting and refreshing!
Health issues and legalities are responsible for Monica’s 25-year absence from the music business. Undaunted, she has returned in full force, with hundreds of original blues songs, each one unique and memorable! In the 1970s and 80s, she wrote songs for many well known performers and since word has gotten out about her return, people are clamoring to record her material.
Monica sings on all the songs. Her powerful vocals are mature, deep, rich, unforgettable and full of surprise. It is easy to hear all the words in the songs. She sounds like she did twenty years ago when she recorded the songs for her “Early Eighties” album. Not only is she a unique gifted vocalist, she also plays rhythm guitar on many of the tracks.
The CD begins with the exuberant medium blues shuffle by J.B. Hutto, “Too Much Alcohol,” which makes one feel like dancing. Lead guitarist, Jimi James, aka Jim Thorsen on Monica’s ‘’Early Eighties” CD, and rhythm slide guitarist, Microwave Dave, enhance the song. The legendary English blues harmonica player, Wolfie Witcher, truly a master of his instrument, adds a rich, full tone and great presentation to this and other songs. Dave and Wolfie both played with Hutto, as did Monica.
A soft, melodic blues, “Sittin’ Around,” follows with a surprise statement from harpist, Mark Hummel. I’ve always enjoyed his high energy performances, but his solo here adds a whole new dimension to his playing. It is emotional, sensitive, and beautiful!
Further on, ‘The Man From New Orleans” is a classic Delta Blues that sounds like it was written 100 years ago and then recorded by Howlin’ Wolf. Nope, it is one of Monica’s originals. Monica and Ron Thompson were jamming for fun when the engineer grabbed the mike and recorded them. What is amazing is that in this totally spontaneous recording, Ron had never heard the song before. Their two guitars are virtually locked together and it sounds like they’ve been playing the song for years!
“When I’m Gone,” another original by Monica, is a modern day version of John Lee Hooker’s infamous boogie. The versatile Ron Thompson turns a driving country solo into a classic Hawaiian lap steel direction in the blink of an eye.
Branching out, but still maintaining a blues base, “Shakin’ The Sheets” is a bouncy, double-entendre song. Mitch Woods turns in a good rockin,’ good time rock-a-boogie here. The humorous R&B song, “A Bigger Place” features Bobbie Webb and his sweet sounding sax. “Running Bear” is a love ballad and a redo in a tender bluesy vein of a novelty song. “Some Other Girl’s Dream” is a danceable, gentle funk tune.
“Mr. Cool” is blues with a smoky jazz flavor. Three top-notch musicians perform on it. One of the album’s biggest surprises is Blaine Hoopes who plays on several tracks. His passionate wail in this tune speaks volumes. It is one of the all-time classic saxophone solos in any genre and is reminiscent of the late, great Dexter Gordon. Folk-rock musician, Buzzy Linhart, adds an Asian flavor with the vibes, and the brilliant percussion work there was done by the jazz great, Kenneth Nash.
The jewel in the crown is the very soulful title track, “Life Goes On.” Monica exudes a fervent passion in her singing that gives me chills. I get the feeling that she is singing about her life. Ron Thompson plays an exceptional guitar solo, which could possibly be his finest work to date. One can feel his every note and phrase. His tone is amazing. This song could become an all-time standard. Blaine Hoopes adds a dynamic sax accompaniment. This is the piece de resistance to the album.
I’m astounded by the proficiency of producer/engineer/musician’s musician, Gary Novak, who captured all of this so incredibly. He played drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards on most of the CD and then pieced the whole thing together. This is not assembled, it is painted by a man with a magic paintbrush. It’s handcrafted by a true artist, Gary Novak. I have a feeling you’ll be hearing that name a lot!
This album is truly a showcase of diverse great blues-based songs, astounding performers,, and a producer who knows how to mix diverse songs to perfection. The songs are so great that everybody is playing their absolute best. Many of these performers played music with Monica in the 70s and 80s and the personal connection and love are certainly evident on this CD. The shades of blues are happy and positive and the feeling is there. This is a musical statement from a strong woman who really has something to say!!!
Blues From The Heart
Monica Dupont has the rare gift to reach the listener's soul with her deep, unique voice and her honest, *from the heart* song-delivery. Her CD *Life Goes On* spans the entire musical spectrum of the Blues - and beyond.
The 10 songs on her album demonstrate that she is easily at home singing Jazz, Rock, Soul, Traditional and Modern Blues, without ever compromising her individuality.
Monica is also an accomplished guitarist and song-writer. Her seven compositions on this CD highlight the diverse range of styles mentioned above, never sounding cliche or resorting to the over-worked 12-bar structure.
Every track on *Life Goes On* is a stand-out, but I do have my favourites...and they're all Monica's songs, like the jazzy *Mr Cool*, the rocking *Shakin' The Sheets* and the Chicago-flavoured *When I'm Gone*.
There are surprises too - like her rendition of *Running Bear*, in which Monica succeeds in putting a totally different, but convincing meaning to the old Johnny Preston tune.
*Life Goes On* is an album that will please music lovers of all genres and ages, because the music is sung and played *From The Heart*. I highly recommend it.