Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

JANIS MARTIN

THE BLANCO SESSIONS

2012-10-22

Janis Martin, the "female Elvis" cut a broad swath through the rockabilly world with a number of singles between 1956 and 1961. Long time fan and musical heir Rosie Flores featured Martin on her 1995 Rockabilly Filly disc. This release, which was recorded back in 2007 and produced by Flores, serves as Martin's sign off as she died only a few months after the recording was completed. Financed through a Kickstarter campaign, the disc is finally seeing the light of day. Like her somewhat better known contemporary, Wanda Jackson, who is experiencing a late career comeback, Martin takes on these recordings with a raw energy that belies the 77 years she had in the rearview mirror when she hit the studio. Featuring covers by everyone from Dave Alvin, "Long White Cadillac", to Johnny and Dorsey Burnette, "I Believe What You Say", to a pair of Don Gibson gems, "Sweet Dreams" and "Oh Lonesome Me", and the Johnny O'Keefe/Johnny Grenan/Dave Owens classic, "Wild One (Real Wild Child)", the disc demonstrates Martin to be in full command of her vocal skills. Showing her the upmost respect by not taking its foot off the throttle the band pushes the beat hard requiring her to throw out words at a machine gun pace which she does with ease. She also is comfortable with cuts that require her to abandon the energy and simply sing as revealed most prominently on "Sweet Dreams" where she dares to tread on Patsy Cline's legacy and on "Walk Softly On This Heart of Mine", a duet with Kelly Willis. Overall, a fun disc that hopefully will inspire Flores, Delilah Dewylde, Kim Lenz, Audra Mae, Imelda May and others to continue to carry the torch for this truly American music. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.