***** 1999 WAMA Nominated Best Blues Album!! *****
"You have to have a certain attitude to be a great blues singer. Depressed at life, upset with your woman (or man), and prepared for the bad luck that inevitably comes with every decision you make-- these are the attributes you must possess to bring listeners into your sphere of misery. Not many female singers make the grade. They try for bold and brassy, but forget how to tone it down, resulting in a scream for help rather than a cry for mercy. The ones who do well understand that you must feel the blues, not merely vocalize. Cathy Jean relates well with the agony of defeat, otherwise known as the blues.
On 'I Want', her second CD, she employs a lot of different styles to express her sadness with broken relationships, all of them effective. She starts off though with the rather deceptive 'Be Glad'. Set to a rousing jump-blues beat, Cathy Jean tells her ex-lover to be grateful she doesn't have a gun because he'd be six feet under otherwise. Great scat vocals and a bouncing blues harp underlie the humorous but sharp tone of the song. Very head-bopping music to begin the
blues beguine. Strong conviction in the vocals also power 'Unfinished Business' where Cathy Jean threatens to punch the other woman's lights out. Mark Wenner from the Nighthawks on harmonica plus a strong backbeat via Bo Diddley also keep your feet a'goin as well. It also has, as a musical in-joke, a snatch of 'Who Do You Love?' thrown in for good measure.
In 'How Many?', Cathy Jean will get her revenge in a tit-for-tat way. Catching her man looking at everybody in a very loving way (including his mother- how sick!), she beleives the only way to get back at him is to get ever-so-close withh all his buddies. Very clever lyrics plus terrific sax keep you hoping he gets his just desserts. The mood turns wistful in 'Why Don't You See Me?' written by Johnette Napolitano from Concrete Blonde. Cathy Jean turns in a beguiling vocal to underplay the yearning inside her. Very contained sax keeps the proceedings relaxed and tranquil. Other songs capture the various nuances of the blues from the Stonesy rocker 'I'm Your Girl' to the two-part 'Hate Chants' which pretty much lets loose every possible emotional rage you could feel towards a man who done you wrong. But it takes the last song on the CD, 'Blues Psalm', to convince you of Cathy Jean's talents. Simply sung to a lone saxophone, her plea to a higher being for the right to sing the blues conveys the power that this genre has to reach people. Her fervent prayer makes you care and hope that she is granted that request. Hopefully, this wish will always be received so that Cathy Jean will continue to make excellent albums. She joins such luminaries as Bonnie Raitt, Marcia Ball, and Koko Taylor, to name a few, in keeping the flame alive for blues singers. After all, she knows it's not necessarily what you sing that's important, it's how you sing it. And that makes a loser in love a winner in the ears of the blues-loving listeners!" --MUSIC MONTHLY MAGAZINE, USA
"Cathy Jean is a major talent waiting to be discovered. She has a blues inflected voice reminiscent of Janis Joplin. She is also a strikingly beautiful woman and a seasoned performer. If that's not enough she's a superb songwriter with 15 self-penned tunes here which stretch her talent in a number of directions. On the title track her voice blends with Keith Stafford's guitar and is reminiscent of Etta James at her best. But make no mistake Cathy Jean is an original talent. The plaintive blues ballad '4 in the morning' is followed by 'Unfinished Business' in which she sounds like a female Delbert McClinton. In the Tina Turner-inspired 'How Many' she laments the problems of love. Other songs honor the Stax-Volt sound, or shuffle along as Jon Carroll's organ blends with Cathy Jean's voice. Unrequited and lost loves dominate Cathy Jean's
songwriting, and every song here is a masterpiece. Her band is superb with Stafford's guitar, Mike Crotty's saxophone, Benjie Porecki's piano and Steve Loecher's drums dominating the hotter tracks. Cathy Jean is a major talent who is destined for stardom." --ROCK & BLUES NEWS, NORTH-WEST USA
"Cathy Jean is a gifted singer with a breathy, cabaret-style voice that shifts between Aretha Franklin and Debbie Harry. Her well-produced cuts on I Want (Cathy Jean Productions 97982), for the most part, fantasize about getting revenge on men who've done her wrong, with lyrics such as 'I want to see you suffer like you made me suffer/I want to see you broken' and 'You a rotten bastard and everybody gonna know.' Organist Benjie Poreckie and sax man Jerry Queen add lots of classy lines, dovetailed perfectly with guitarist Steve [sic: should be 'Keith'--ed.] Stafford's tough blues work. Best Cut: Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano pens the melodic and catchy rock ballad 'Why Don't You See Me.'" --BLUES REVUE MAGAZINE, USA
"Don't apply unless you can take the heat; Cathy Jean comes on pretty strong, from the steamy pictures on the cover to the rub-it-raw lyrics of many of the songs. But the band is good and the production equal to the task. Hang on-- it's worth the ride" --BLUES ACCESS MAGAZINE, USA
This ultra-sexy blues diva scores again with another incredible CD that is chock full of 15 self-penned songs with assistance from a steller team of musicians. Judging the sexy cover shot on the CD may prejudice you from checking out the music inside. You can't judge the music by the hot and steamy pin-up poses alone. The music speaks volumes all by itself. Cathy Jean sings "the blues" with a "take-no-prisoners" attitude, singing of loves lost and loves found, life's hits and misses, not afraid to stomp on those that get in her way or taking on those who have done her wrong. A powerful collection that is simply smokin'!! Cathy Jean sings with an expressive, very melodic and powerful voice, more in common with Bessie Smith, Janis Joplin, or Aretha Franklin. Her vocal range is almost limitless-- whether she is singing an all-out rocker like "I'm Your Girl", the jump blues of "Be Glad", or songs influenced by the soulfulness of Tina Turner and the incomparable Memphis Stax-Volt sounds, she has the power to draw you into each song and to have you, the listener, identify with and to feel all of the emotions being generated there. Her performance is a major tour-de-force! Along for support are the talents of Jon Carroll and Bengie Porecki on organ; Jerry Queen on sax; and Keith Stafford's ballsy guitar work. Quite an extraordinary team! Nighthawks Mark Wenner contributes his own special blues harp on the punches flying, foot stompin' cut, "Unfinished Business". Tracks to watch out for: "Why Don't You See Me", a touching and quite catchy tune penned by Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano; and, the last song on the CD, the hauntingly beautiful "Blues Psalm" which finds Cathy soulfully and reverently singing to a lonely saxophone. There is an emotional fervor with which she sings the prayer-like tune that cuts deep into your soul. With music this good it is hard to fathom why Cathy Jean and her bandmates aren't headlining more festivals or bombarding more clubs with greater frequency. This is extremely short-sighted on many peoples parts. "I Want" has an enormous amount of depth, heart, and a blistering sense of attitude. The music jumps from start to finish. Check-out Cathy Jean at your earliest opportunity. Take her home and relish the experience!!! --NEW YORK BLUES SOCIETY-MANHATTAN
I'd seen this CD in the American blues mags. The bar stool pose by Cathy Jean oozes sex, so I cynically assumed that looks were making up for a lack of talent. Well, I can report that there's no lack in the talent department! This is high energy modern blues. It draws on rock and other influences and has a modern sound in the drum department. Some of the guitar tones have a rock edge, too. So for some of you this album is starting to sound really good. Let me add that Cathy's vocal style has lots of the snarl and attack of Janis Joplin, too. Some of the cuts aren't blues-- **4 in the morning** is about unfaithfulness but with lots of non blues textures, classical guitar and (soprano?) sax. "Unfinished Business" has a Bo Diddley riff and overdriven harp-- well played by Mark Wenner. "Leave Me Alone" has the band in a horn led, soul mood while. "Why Don't You See Me" (with the talented Benjie Porecki on organ) has breathy sax to the fore. "Tallow Shuffle" is cool a shuffle. Keith Stafford gets a chance to knock out some good blues chops laced with tremolo (Lesley effect?). It's a relief to get to cut 9 and pick up an acoustic track. Here Cathy sounds at her most Janis like. On "Blues Singin' Alcoholic", again acoustic, the feel is folky... Cathy Jean and her band have been touring and working hard, she's got sex
appeal and energy, makes for success in gigs. --NEW ZEALAND BLUES SOCIETY
Cathy Jean is a singer/songwriter out of Baltimore, Maryland. This is her second CD, which is co-produced by four time Grammy nominee Bob Dawson. Her sound has moved towards a sophisticated blues and rock, with some contemporary influences. She has a voice that is well suited to this eclectic approach, capable of crooning in one song, and belting out a hard shuffle in the next. The music kicks off with "Be Glad," a hard shuffle, followed by the title track, a crisp blues rocker. Cathy and band then move into some jazzy funk in "**4 in the Morning**," a little of the Bo Diddley beat in "Unfinished Business," then back into the funk with "How Many." "Leave Me Alone" is a rocker with a definate soul feel, which gives way to "Why Don't You See Me," a jazzy ballad. The band then cranks out a sharp shuffle, that recalls the 70's Albert Collins sound, followed by "Please Stop Seeing That Girl," a funky acoustic blues that showcases yet another facet of Cathy Jean's voice. Dancers in the crowd are served next with the catchy rocking blues, "I'm Your Girl," then comes the sultry "See You Tomorrow," and the acoustic country-blues of "Blues Singin' Alcoholic." Next up is the New Orleans style rocker, "I Want Your Mother To Know/Rotten B." which Cathy belts out with authority. This CD closes with a nice slow blues and a gospelish blues that is a inventive synthesis of genres. SUMMARY: Cathy Jean has come up with an energetic set of blues, jazz and contemporary-blues that fits the 90's to a T. She has real fire in her voice, and all of the music here is driven by a genuine sense of passion that makes the songs literally jump out at you from the speakers. A great mix of sophistication and downhome grease. --DELTA SNAKE DAILY BLUES, ARKANSAS, USA