Lee Aaron – Diamond Baby Blues

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Lee Aaron – Diamond Baby Blues
Label: Big Sister
Released: 2018
Reviewed: December, 2018
Rating:  4/5
Reviewer: JP

The Kings of Kanadian Karnage!- The Frozen North Rides Forth!

This feature is so good, I had to name it twice!   About once a year I indulge my patriotism and review a bunch of Canadian Metal releases.  There has been a whole pile of albums recently released in the past few months and I want to help bring some exposure to these bands. There are bands of all styles and all genres from across the country in this feature. The bands covered in this feature are… (listed alphabetically)

Anvil (Toronto, ON)

Apprentice (Vancouver, BC)

Arctic Circle (Brandon, Manitoba)

Assault (Vancouver, BC)

Black Rat (Calgary, AB)

Cauldron (Toronto, ON)

Codex:Factoria (Vancouver, BC)

Dethgod (Calgary, AB)

Fractal Cypher (Montreal,Quebec)

Haiduk (Calgary, AB)

Iomair (Scarborough, ON)

Ice War (Ottawa, ON)

Leah (Vancouver, BC)

Lee Aaron (Vancouver, BC)

Malacoda (Oakville, ON)

Mongol (Edmonton, AB)

Ominous Eclipse (Ottawa, ON)

Skullfist (Toronto, ON)

Solborn (Edmonton, AB)

Thor (Vancouver, BC)

Trollwar (Alma, PQ)

Untimely Demise (Saskatoon, SK)

W.M.D (Calgary, AB)

Ye Goat-Herd Gods (Calgary, AB)

Please enjoy all the albums in this feature and check out all the talent Canada has to offer!


Lee Aaron’s is getting a bit of traction again in this now third or fourth phase of her long and prolific career.  Her new album, DIAMOND BABY BLUES is quite a quick follow up to 2016’s well-received ‘comeback’ album FIRE AND GASOLINE.  I’m not sure that ‘comeback is a totally fair term as Aaron never really went away but admittedly it was 12 years between BEAUTIFUL THINGS (2004) and FIRE AND GASOLINE.  So a mere two-year wait for the new album was not so bad in retrospect.

DIAMOND BABY BLUES is her twelfth album (excluding those other jazz albums) and again released on Big Sister, which I suspect might be her own label.  It is good to see her put out an actual physical product with a booklet and lyrics and so on. Guitarist and man-about-town, Sean Kelly supplies the guitar for the collection of 12 dirty diamonds.

The album starts as we would expect and hope with a great up-tempo rocker with some clever lyrics as well.  Aaron and her indestructible voice (which has aged so well, more on that in a minute) let us know that she has… “A brand new song and I’m putting my crown on.”  as a sly reference to her status of ‘Metal Queen’.

As a side-bar, it is interesting to note that many Metal fans consider Doro Pesch to be the Metal Queen.  Is this lyric a slight dig at Doro or attempt to reclaim her crown? I doubt it, but I noticed the line right away. I’d like to think that both Doro and Aaron have nothing but the utmost respect for each other as late 70’s early 80’s pioneers of women in heavy music. Who knows, they might not even know or care who the other is. I’m making this up as I go.

Back to Aaron’s amazing voice. Many people talk about male vocalists having that ‘whiskey rasp’ or some similar description but I think it really applies very nicely to Aaron voice.  She has range power and grit and she in so not of the many soprano-song-bird vocalists, and I think that makes her distinct and her sound and delivery so appealing.

She throws us a curve-ball on track two with a cover of the Deep Purple classic ‘Mistreated’ with a slower, blues-based version.   Up next a bluesy rocker with lots of lyrics about the USA with references to Motown and a horn section. Elsewhere there are ballads, honky-tonk piano, slide guitar and more great vocals with smooth songs of sex and sin.  I guess the album title of DIAMOND BABY BLUES  is starting to make sense!

The album helps show some of her inspiration with another cover tune. In retrospect, over half this album are cover tunes!    She covers Bo Diddley, Janet Jackson, Tom Hambridge (aka the White Willie Dixon) and the Dee Dee Warwick classic, ‘You’re No Good’.   Also on the list is an old song by Steve Wright called ‘Hard Road’. Originally written by Harry Vanda and George Young of AC/DC fame, the track was later covered by Rod Stewart.  She picked the old 1955 Willie Dixon tune, ‘My Babe’ to close the record. All of this is reminiscent of when she covered the 1974 Stevie Wonder song, ‘Tell Me Something Good’ back in 1991 on her album, SOME GIRLS DO.  Her musical appreciation for rhythm & blues runs long and deep!  She could have called this album the ‘School of Rock’ as there is a lot of history in these grooves.   OK yeah, a CD doesn’t actually have ‘grooves’ like vinyl, but you know what I mean.

The album goes from strength to strength and obviously most of the songs have more of a blues feel than a polished 80’s Hard Rock feel.  She can do both styles with ease.  As much as I love her early material (say first six albums) I really like this direction she is exploring. It might not be for everyone, those who only want to hear the old stuff, but I feel DIAMOND BABY BLUES is a really fun exploration of her roots. What a great r&b rock record!



Tracklist

1. Diamond Baby
2. Mistreated
3. American High
4. I’m a Woman
5. Mercy
6. Best Thing
7. Black Cat
8. Hard Road
9. In the Bedroom
10. Cut Way Back
11. You’re No Good
12. My Babe

Line Up:

Lee Aaron-vocals

Sean Kelly- Guitar

Dave Reimer- Bass

John Cody- Drums

www.leeaaron.com