Chonita Turner, Jav-Lyn and Lady Lotion
Texas Blueswomen
TopCat 01962
There's just too much Whitney-Houston overkill here and not enough subtlety. Some of these 11 songs, recorded live last June at the Texas Blues Cafe, stretch out to eight or nine minutes and become nothing more than sparse showcases for somebody to repeat "Oh! Ooo!" and testify like a low-rent, 1970s Patti LaBelle.

All three of these Dallas-born singers draw inspiration from impeccable sources -- can't go wrong with Franklin, James and Tina Turner. Chonita Turner's take on "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man," sporadically catches fire; her five opening songs are the highlights. Jav-Lyn tries Franklin's "Dr. Feelgood," and they close with a personable but limp version of "Proud Mary."

All three women are talented, with the ability to jump quickly from a soft moan to a gravelly scream. Chonita Turner is the straightforward soul shouter, Jav-Lyn tries for a sexy pillow-talk feeling and Lady Lotion works best with a dark, spooky song, like the nice "Damn Your Eyes."

But there's just no focus here, and the band isn't particularly disciplined. Jav-Lyn, especially, is like an endless guitar solo without a song -- only it's a voice solo, which starts to resemble fingers on a blackboard after a while. "Performances this immediate should be cut live," the liner notes enthuse, "because that way, you're almost there!" On the other hand, maybe a studio, where a producer says when to start and where to stop, would have been better.

-- Steve Knopper

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Boulder, CO, USA.