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Shemekia Copeland

33 1/3 (Telarc)

Sep. 20, 2012
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A significant changing of the guard occurred at last year’s Chicago Blues Festival when Koko Taylor’s daughter, Cookie, crowned Shemekia Copeland the new “Queen of the Blues.” It’s an honor richly deserved, as Copeland (daughter of blues-guitar great Johnny Copeland) strives to bridge the gap between the traditional and the contemporary. Copeland still sees the genre’s potential with a new generation of listeners, and her sixth album, 33 1/3—a reference to the singer’s age as much as an homage to the LP—boldly announces her convictions.

With a big, clear voice, Copeland sings songs with mass appeal (“Hangin’ Up”), sounds nasty (“Ain’t Gonna Be Your Tattoo,” featuring Buddy Guy’s ominous guitar) and sexy (“A Woman”), gets her Southern gospel on (“Somebody Else’s Jesus”) and covers her dad (“One More Time”) and Sam Cooke (“Ain’t That Good News”). Plus, her seductive version of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” suggests that this blues royalty is still evolving.



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