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Vee Allen: Press

Roger & Margaret White - Big City Blues Mag (October 2015)

Vee Allen explains “I have always been a singer. Even as a little girl in Leland, Mississippi, I can’t seem to help myself now, I still want to sing.” Her first recordings in '72-'73 were released as singles on the Lion label, MCA released "All About Love" in l983 and she self released  “Woman Enough” in '07. Vee has gotten back to her southern roots with her new CD Bluesin' In The Big Easy” with the help of those champion of Southern Culture, Dr. John and the Lower 911, their distinctive New Orleans sound infused into every groove. Though the good Dr. caress' the keys on five of the nine cuts his Lower 911, David Barard on bass, John Fohl guitar, Herman Ernest or Herlan Riley on drums provide the backing for this entire production with backing vocals by Theresa Davis of the Emotions.

Starting off anything but easy the rolling bass, the punch of horns and slippery guitar Vee improvises lyrics for the “Big Easy Blues” as Mac's piano fills in the upper register, Takashi Matsumura from The Hot 8 Brass Band takes on a guitar solo. Dr John leads down memory lane as Vees' sweet feminine voice whispers “Talk To Me” the classic Little Willie John number with angelic backup vocals and John Fohl updates it with a gliding guitar solo. “Candy” was a mid '40's pop hit till Big Maybelle breathed fire into, but Vee takes a mid ground with the piano infusing a bold elegance and yearning. The elegant tone follows into “Sunday Kind Of Love” Vee taking an interpretation between Ella Fitzgereld and the Etta James with a full handed assist from Dr. John taking the solo. The final cover “Time After Time,” Vee lets the rhythm of the lyrics drive her vocals as the piano bounces behind. Vee also includes three orginals recorded with the Lower 911, “Source Of Comfort” has a quality reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt while the soaring strains of “Everything But What I Want” contrast with Vee's delicate vocals and the pleading “Don't Ask Me To Let You Go” echos the fragile sounds of heartbreak.

Vee Allen brings a relaxed elegance to Bluesin' In The Big Easy.”

 

David Cole - The Soul Basement (July 2015)

In 2007, Vee Allen took her first foray into the recording studio for some twenty-three years, the result being the critically acclaimed ‘Woman Enough’ album, reviewed in ‘In The Basement’ #48. It spurred her into continuing such ventures and now we have ‘Bluesin’ In The Big Easy’ which has been some time in gestation and began some years back in Seattle, Washington, during a jam session with her friends, Dr. John & the Lower 911 Band. Thus was born the two-part ‘Big Easy Blues’ which opens the new set here, described by Vee in the liners as “...really a blues jam with me singing blues songs while the band played whatever they felt, led by Mac’s keyboard and David Barard’s funky bass... Mac’s tinkling the upper register keys made me think of water and inspired me to write to the well-known adage ‘You don’t miss your water ‘til your well runs dry’.” With the guys on hand, Vee also added some of her favourite songs: a delicious take on Joe Seneca’s ‘Talk To Me’, going right back to 1944 for ‘Candy’, here a slow roller where (as on all the collaborations) the feel is very much that of all the participants thoroughly enjoying themselves - horn work, incidentally, being provided by Mark Kieme - a warm treatment of ‘Sunday Kind Of Love’ and Sammy Cahn’s ‘Time After Time’, taken in a jazz-meets-the-blues manner, with Rebennack’s piano very much to the fore. Sadly, before Vee could add any more tracks, Dr. John and the Lower 911 Band parted company but, with band members David Barard and guitarist, John Fohl, having played on the ‘Woman Enough’ sessions, she opted to reprise three tracks from that set to round out this whole. Consequently, we welcome back a trio of her own co-compositions: ‘Source Of Comfort’, a midtempo toe-tapper with rolling instrumental back-up, ‘Everything But What I Want’, a tender, sax-supported ballad and the very strong, tuneful ‘Don’t Ask Me To Let You Go’, with background vocals provided (as on the previously mentioned couple of numbers) by David Barard and Cossetta Taylor. It’s good to have Vee Allen back once again - she is in fine voice throughout and deserves for this album to be acknowledged as an accomplished work, for which she also acted as co-producer.

 

Colin Dilnot - In Dangerous Rhythm (January 2008)

One of my favourite sides of 2007 was Vee Allen's “Let’s Pretend To Be Lovers” from the CD Woman Enough on her own label Leland. Vee Allen has a long pedigree in music and you can find out more about the lady on her website.

 

Dusty Groove America (2007)

New work from Vee Allen -- the older deep soul singer who recorded work for the Twinight and Lion labels back in the 70s, and who still sounds plenty darn great here! The style of the set is somewhat contemporary, but never too much so -- just a bit of electric instrumentation alongside Vee's great vocals -- and an overall production style that's still quite simple, straightforward, and indie-feeling overall. Allen never tries to get too slick, nor too bluesy -- a frequent problem with old southern soul singers trying to update their sound -- and some tracks even feature a slight undercurrent of jazz, which is a nice surprise that really helps deepen the feel of the record. Titles include "Woman Enough", "Everything But What I Want", "Source Of Comfort", "Let's Pretend To Be Lovers", "Time", "Your Song", and "Don't Ask Me To Let You Go".