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Chicago soul singer Jean Shy has been recording since the late 1960s for such labels as Starville, Checker, Dakar, Foxcar, Honey, Fantasy, Playboy, Polydor, and R.S.O., and since 1983 for King Edward Records, a company originally based in Duisburg, Germany, but now located in Hollywood. She has garnered little attention for her efforts, at least here in the United States, and even Robert Pruter’s otherwise impressive 1991 book Chicago Soul makes no mention of her. Such inattention is a crime that should be rectified by her current CD, which shows her to be one of the most awesome soul, blues, rock, and gospel singers performing today.

Shy, who divides her time between Germany and Southern California, possesses big, remarkably elastic contralto pipes that she applies with consummate passion on The Blues Got Soul to a diverse set of oldies that includes Ray Charles’ “Unchain Mys Heart,” Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You,” Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You),” Muddy Water’s “Rock Me,” Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock’n Roll, and the church songs “Precious Memories” and “Amazing Grace,” as well as several original compositions, both secular and spiritual. Her moans and guttural asides bring Mavis Staples to mind.

Nine of the dozen tracks were recorded live at an Open Air Festival in Duisburg, the remaining three at studios in Duisburg and Frankfurt. The Shy Guys, an exceptional band of German musicians that features the torrid guitar work of Klaus Zimmermann, and Martin Hoette, the tightly locking bass and drums of Peter Bruemmer and Bernhard Spiess, and the blistening tenor saxophone of Bernd Winterschladen, match the intensity of Shy’s vocals blow by blow. And Georg Mahr’s Hammond B-3 organ gives an ideally sanctified flavor to three of the gospel numbers.

 

-LEE HILDEBRAND-

 

 

Thank You Mr. Lee Hildebrand for a beautiful review! Thanks also Brett J. Bonner, Editor of “Living Blues” for your support! www.livingblues.com

 

 

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Jean Shy | Jean Shy & The Shy Guys - The Blues Got Soul - CD Review by Lee Hildebrand for Living Blues Magazin