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Album Review

The cover's cutout silhouette of these guitar-slinging soul/blues women is a succinct visual overview of the rather ambiguous contents within. Recorded in preparation for 2007's Blues Caravan tour featuring journeywomen singer/songwriters Sue Foley and Deborah Coleman along with the comparatively fresh-faced Roxanne Potvin (whose first widely distributed set was released earlier the same year), the disc seems more like a respectable concert souvenir than an actual collaborative affair. The 11 tracks break down into three solo cuts from each participant, one shared and joyous effort on the closing cover of a Chess oldie, "In the Basement," and a crackling instrumental dominated by Foley's always impressive guitar. There are many fine moments here, especially as Coleman lays into an easy funk groove on James Brown's "Talking Loud" and on Potvin's emotionally charged ballad "Strong Enough to Hold You." But other than an occasional apparently overdubbed backing vocal, each tune besides the closing one is a solo performance played with a solid if inconspicuous backing band spearheaded by producer Kevin Bowe. There's nothing wrong with that, but those looking for a mutual encounter with the three guitarists trading licks and vocal turns, in the process pushing each other to new heights, will be disappointed. Foley radiates confidence especially on the rip-snorting opening title track and "Two Moons Gone." Her trilling voice along with Coleman's huskier approach and Potvin's drawling croon would likely sound great, or at least interesting, harmonizing together. But except for the terrific closing "In the Basement," where it sounds like the threesome are having a blast, listeners don't get to experience that relationship, since the format seemingly does not allow the women to be in the studio concurrently. It's a bit of a missed opportunity and could be considered deceptive marketing, too. That doesn't make this a bad recording; on the contrary, it's filled with solid playing and singing, and excellent songs that display each woman's individual strengths. But it doesn't fulfill the enticing possibilities inferred by the joint partnership and the album's explosive title.


Born: 03 October 1956 in Portsmouth, VA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Blues guitarist and singer/songwriter Deborah Coleman -- like Ruth Brown and Gary U.S. Bonds, who also hail from the same part of coastal Virginia -- brings a certain old-school sense of dignity to all of her live shows. No matter where she is, no matter the size of the audience, she presents the blues with her varying backup bands in a thoroughly dignified, proud way. And well she should, as she's just following in the footsteps, in many ways, of her late great town-mate Ruth Brown, who always exuded...
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Time Bomb, Deborah Coleman
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