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Deluxe Edition: Shemekia Copeland

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Album Review

The daughter of blues icon Johnny Copeland may not be the template for sassy, blues-based soul shouting — there are plenty of similarly styled women in blues history — but her tough, brassy vocals and female-empowered songs quickly made her one of the most popular contemporary female artists in the genre after her 1998 Alligator debut. The label released four albums from the singer, all pretty much in the same vein, through 2005, after which she took a four-year break and reappeared on the Telarc imprint with a redefined approach. This hour-plus compilation successfully grabs 15 highlights, adds a snappy Christmas song originally included on an Alligator holiday anthology, and provides a snapshot for those who want a sampler of Copeland's talents. While the strutting, harder-edged music, often including horns, is a significant part of Copeland's résumé and substantially represented here, the compilers have included some jazzy and more subtle performances that show she is comfortable dialing down the vocal fire power when needed. There's also a funky side to her personality, represented by the Tower of Power-styled "Better Not Touch" from 2005's The Soul Truth and 2002's "When a Woman's Had Enough." The disc ignores a strict chronological presentation for one that flows musically. Many of these songs were written specifically for Copeland — she gets a writing co-credit on five —so the sound and lyrical themes remain relatively consistent, even through seven years. Since all of her discs had a similar groove, the result is more than just a batch of good tunes played and sung with conviction, but a smartly calculated summation that plays like a unified whole. In addition to gritty blues-rockers like the Stones/Chuck Berry-inspired flamethrower "Wild, Wild Woman," Copeland wrings real soul from ballads such as "Don't Whisper" and especially an intimate reading of her father's "Ghetto Child," both with a surprisingly sympathetic and sensitive touch. She's even convincing on the lone acoustic Delta blues "Beat Up Guitar," an enticing side road that might be worth exploring again in the future. Copeland's 2009 Telarc release reveals new directions for her, but this wrap-up does a terrific job of summarizing these crucial early years in her professional development.

Customer Reviews

Been a fan for years!

I first saw her touring with buddy guy when she was18-19! This is a great collection of some of her best songs. The show stopper Ghetto child, and steel guitar shemekia classic beat up old guitar, it's 2 am,the soulful don't whisper, salt in my wounds, and the rocking your mamma's talking are a few of my favorites on this album. But don't just download this album, you will miss so much, download wicked( my personal favorite-probably because I've had so long to love it), turn up the heat, and talking to strangers. A star in her own right, start listening to her if you love Etta, or koko, if you enjoyed her father johnny, or just love the blues! Down load this album now and begin your lifetime love affair with shemekia.

Great Album from a Modern Blues Queen

Shemekia Copeland follows in the tradition of blues divas Koko Taylor and Etta James. This Deluxe Edition is a great representation of her body of work. She can travel the road from gravelly barrelhouse blues to subtle and forlorn with ease. She is a true talent.

Shemekia's Deluxe

Great collection to listen to then buy everything else of her's including Never going back to Memphis.Such power she never fails to deliver ,she had a radio show also on sirius the blues channel and was great looking forward to the next album


Born: April 10, 1979 in Harlem, New York, NY

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The daughter of renowned Texas blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, Shemekia Copeland began making a splash in her own right before she was even out of her teens. Projecting a maturity beyond her years, Copeland fashioned herself as a powerful, soul-inflected shouter in the tradition of Koko Taylor and Etta James, yet also proved capable of a subtler range of emotions. Copeland was born in Harlem in 1979 and her father encouraged her to sing right from the beginning, even bringing her up on-stage at...
Full Bio
Deluxe Edition: Shemekia Copeland, Shemekia Copeland
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Customer Ratings