When I put in Peaches Staten’s album Peaches Live at Legends, I fully intended on listening to it once through casually, then more intently later as I was writing a review, as is my usual process. However, it didn’t take long for the album to wrestle me into giving it nothing less than my full attention immediately.
Peaches, who is playing live at Buddy Guy’s club, Legends, in Chicago, is electric. Her unique, deep vocals are smooth and inviting, and the live atmosphere of the recording gives the listener a full dose of the electricity in the club that night, as only a live album can do. She gracefully spans the musical gamut in her sets; a good indication of the skill that her and her band possess. She starts off with the sweet, bluesy Long Distance Phone Call. The deeply Zydeco Gotta Find My Man adds a wonderful Cajun spice to the mix, with Peaches playing washboard and the heavily Cajun accompanying rhythm on the 88s that makes you just want to get up and dance! Peaches’ rendition of the classic I’d Rather Go Blind is strong, soulful, smooth and brimming with emotion. The final song, Keep On Keepin’ On, is as blues as it gets, and with Chris Harper on Harmonica, the track makes a great closing number to an all around entertaining and well made album.
Her versatile band, the Groove Shakers, is top notch. They glide from deep blues to R&B to Zydeco effortlessly. Mike Wheeler on guitar has a beautiful tone and creative licks, and Brian James on the keys spices up every song with just a hint of gospel; enough to feel like Peaches is bringin’ us to the church of the blues. Larry Williams on bass keeps the beat flowing, and Cleo Cole on drums deeply sticks the percussion to you and practically hypnotizes the listener into dancing… wherever they may be!
All said, the album is energetic & full of fun, and it packs enough variety to make most anybody happy, while maintaining an unmistakable identity throughout. She bantered more than once about getting people up and dancing on the pool tables. It would be hard to resist that offer while listening to this album.
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