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Album Review

As its title infers, this 18-track collection is a recap of the recorded career of soulful rocking singer Christine Ohlman, aka the Beehive Queen. A handful of tracks is sampled from each of her three studio releases (1996's The Hard Way, 2000's Wicked Time, and Strip from 2003), but the real fun comes courtesy of the smattering of live, demo, and alternate takes along with two newly recorded blues covers, all debuting here. Ohlman never sings a tune halfway. She injects soul and inspiration through every note, wringing the last drop of emotion out of material tailored for her husky voice. Her tough, urban approach to originals swaggers like a street punk looking for a rumble on the rough side of town. She's the distaff side of Willy DeVille, strutting down the avenue with a sassy attitude hiding a heart of gold. Her rugged Rebel Montez band is primed for its supporting role, acting as the swampy rock heart that pumps blood into the veins of songs that never overstay their welcome. Versions of Dan Penn's "It Tears Me Up," Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor," and John Lee Hooker's "Dimples" highlight the blues influences underpinning Ohlman's originals, which dominate the disc. She's the leader of the pack, and if the Shangri-Las were making rock music in the '90s, it would likely sound something like "Sugar Melts," a sexed-up story that exudes all the spunk of Mary Weiss in cougar mode. Throaty ballads such as the Springsteen-styled "The Hard Way" don't lessen the tension, either, even if the guitars lay back a bit more. Why the public never caught on to Ohlman's albums is hard to say, but this generous compilation is a terrific introduction to a singer/songwriter who owns everything she touches.

Customer Reviews

What?!? Odd comment

As another fan of blue-eyed soul, I don’t know where GH1234 is coming from, but Grayson Hugh is about as far from Air Supply and that smooth stuff as a hawk from the moon! Hugh is acclaimed around the world for his RAW and incredibly passionate and ROOTSY blue-eyed soul singing - not to mention his masterful piano playing. Don’t think GH1234 has ever been to G. Hugh concert! I like Christine Oilman too, but let's get your references straight, GH1234! Abba and Air Supply are easy listening. Grayson Hugh is a wild man - and a high energy performer with the added gift of poetry.

If You Want Etta...

It's more Dusty than Etta...Blue-eyed Blues. If you see her perform live you'll understand that she is the real deal. "Turn" alone is proof enough!

Impressive!

Just visited The Turning Point Cafe and she gave a great performance. She has a great band and her voice is as soulful as ever. I'm not sure where this guy Jarntop is coming from - perhaps he failed the cowbell audition, but her music is good old fashioned rock and roll. This probably won't fit in well with your Abba, Air Supply or Grayson Hugh collections. But then again, it's not supposed to.

Biography

Genre: Rock

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

One look at Christine Ohlman's trademark blonde beehive hairdo — an ongoing tribute to Ronnie Spector — and you know she's serious about her rock and soul. A writer, singer, book editor, record collector, and performer, Ohlman is probably best known to the general public for her work as vocalist in the Saturday Night Live Band, specifically during the G.E. Smith years. Both were founding members of the Scratch Band, which specialized in the soul-drenched rock she has continued to release...
Full Bio
Re-Hive, Christine Ohlman
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Customer Ratings