‘Black and White’ by Leslie Zimei, A Review

 

Black and White

BLACK AND WHITE by Leslie Zimei

Not your usual ‘covers’ album

 

Produced by:  Michael Mattia, Con Calenza, Leslie Zimei and Fred Guarino

Executive Producer:  Ray Hornosky

 

 

Musical tastes inspire generational conflict.  And, I suppose, this is more than expected, it is actually healthy and even encouraged.  Although sophistication is not a ladder to be climbed one rung at a time, certainly I don’t think one could argue the point that rock ‘n’ roll today is far more advanced than the songs of basic three- and four-chord progression pervasive in its infancy.  As one gets older, however, the musical tastes of the generations begin to blend when the younger listener now understands and appreciates the building blocks that formed the foundation of current popular sound.  A respect emerges.

The one form of music that bucks this trend is rhythm and blues.  Cross-generational love of R & B is almost instant and complete and we can probably thank Berry Gordy of Motown Records for recognizing the potential for this music to reach across racial lines as well as generational boundaries.  Of course it could be argued, and I’d make this argument myself, that early Motown, to insure its crossover appeal, was as much “pop” as it was “R & B” as Gordy and his team were feeling their way around this new territory.  As a matter of fact, Motown was so successful with its formula, combining catchy melodies with impeccable musicianship and the soulful harmonies of beautiful voices, that Gordy, himself, resisted the inevitable maturation process – that is, taking his music to the next level.  (Story has it that Smokey Robinson was instrumental in nudging Gordy along.  And the music of The Temptations is the perfect example.)  Gordy’s fears were completely unfounded as rhythm and blues continues to be popular today among young and old, black and white.  And if you really go back enough, you’ll learn that, thanks mainly to Elvis Presley and Sam Phillips, there is no ownership of R & B.

So, along comes Black and White, a new album by Long Islander, Leslie Zimei, released this summer and dedicated to her mom.  Ms. Zimei is no novice to music even though her name may not be immediately recognized.  She has sung with the likes of Ben E. King and Bo Diddley.  She has opened for artists such as Peggy Lee, Petula Clark and Bonnie Bramlett (Delaney & Bonnie).  She was lead vocalist for a local blues-based band, Cadillac Moon, and she currently sings with The Pearl Street Band.  And now, after more than 40 years recording and performing, she has finally put out her first “solo” album.

Armed with an enviable voice and a band of musicians so accomplished as to make the music sound, well, easy to create, Ms. Zimei has chosen to record an album of mostly covers from a wide range of rhythm and blues composers and performers from Billie Holiday and Etta James to Tracy Chapman.  She moves between deep soul (“Bill Withers’ “Same Love that Made Me Laugh” and Etta James “Tell Mama”) and blues (an original, “Black and White”) with effortless sincerity and compassion, and stops for some fun along the way (“Save the Bones for Henry Jones” (Nat King Cole)).  But mostly it’s straight rhythm and blues with style.

You only get one change at a first impression, as the saying goes, and Ms. Zimei has chosen wisely.  The disc opens rather strongly with a cover of Tyron Davis’ “Can I Change My Mind?”, and you know instantly that if the album can only live up to the promise of its beginning, you will be in for a treat.  And I’m happy to say that it certainly does, and you are.  For example, her cover of Cannonball Adderly’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” adds a female perspective to the song that oozes with a sexiness that can only come from a woman with a little mileage; and, from this reviewer’s point of view, that is a decisive virtue.  This song, above all, begs for the repeat button.

While a large majority of the album is a diverse assortment of impressive covers, the two originals, “Comin’ Home”, a sensitive, hopeful ballad in the soulful style of Dusty Springfield, and the aforementioned, bluesy title track, “Black and White”, both written with her former husband, Michael Mattia, complement their more familiar counterparts in rather impressive fashion, proudly putting Ms. Zimei’s own song-writing talents on display.  Perhaps at first glance, seeing the song list of mostly R & B covers, you might be tempted to dismiss this collection as more of the same – you know, another in the seemingly endless line of uninspired, over-interpreted R & B standards.  But after a listen or two, you’ll realize, as I did, that Black and White is really something quite special and deserves a place in your rhythm and blues collection.

Michael J Mand, On-web personality, OWWR

 

 

 

 

August 29, 2014, First Half

Opening Set:

  • St. James Infirmary – Allen Toussaint (The Bright Mississippi, 2007)
  • Gimme More Rock ‘n’ Roll –Blondie Chaplin (Bondie Chaplin, 1977)
  • But You Let Me Go – The Hurricanes (Warning, 2013)
  • It Ain’t Necessarily So – Fuzztones (Snake Oil, 2013)
  • Oh! Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison (Single, 1964)
  • Queen City – The Doughboys (Act Your Rage, 2009)
  • St. Valentine – John & Brittney (Stories to be Told, 2014)
  • Freak Flag – Chemical Wedding (RTZ, 1993)

Interview with Leslie Zimei:

20140829_132230

Leslie and Me (I’m on the right.)

  • Can I Change My Mind? – Leslie Zimei (Black and White, 2014)
  • Mercy, Mercy, Mercy – Leslie Zimei (Black and White, 2014)
  • The Beginning of it All – Ben E. King (The Beginning of it All, 1971)
  • Black and White – Leslie Zimei (Black and White, 2014)
  • Save the Bones for Henry Jones – Leslie Zimei (Black and White, 2014)
  • Comin’ Home – Leslie Zimei (Black and White, 2014)

August 29, 2014, Second Half

Dinah WashingtonDinah Washington

August 29, 1924 – December 14, 1963

  • The Blues Ain’t Nothin’ But a Woman Cryin’ for Her Man – Dinah Washington (Back to the Blues, 1963)
  • Birth of the Blues/I Don’t Hurt Anymore – Dinah Washington (Dinah, 1956)
  • Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby? – Dinah Washington (Dinah ’62)
  • Bewitched – Dinah Washington (Tears and Laughter, 1962)
  • Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) – Dinah Washington (In the Land of Hi-Fi, 1956)
  • Makin’ Whoopie – Dinah Washington (The Swingin’ Miss D, 1956)
  • Everybody Loves Somebody – Dinah Washington (Unforgettable, 1959)
  • There’ll Be Some Changes Made – Dinah Washington (Dinah, 1956)

Beth’s Set:

  • Dirty Paws – Of Monsters and Men (My Head Is an Animal, 2012)
  • Coffee – Sylvan Esso (Sylvan Esso, 2014)
  • Dangerous – Big Data (featuring Joywave) (1.0 (EP), 2013)
  • Like a Mighty River – St. Paul & The Broken Bones (Half the City, 2014)
  • Five Fold Kiss (Don’t Sleep) – Psychic Babble (My Brother’s Ears/My Sister’s Eyes, 2014)
  • She’s Out of My Life – Clive Gregson (Welcome to the Workhouse, 1990)
  • Baby, What You Want Me to Do? – Elvis Presley (Live track from You Tube, 1968)
  • Baby, What You Want Me to Do? – Jimmy Reed (Single, 1959)
  • Long Tall Sally – The Beatles (Long Tall Sally EP, 1964)

 

  • Think About the Days – The Beach Boys (That’s Why God Made the Radio, 2012)
  • Pacific Coast Highway – The Beach Boys (That’s Why God Made the Radio, 2012)
  • Summer’s Gone – The Beach Boys (That’s Why God Made the Radio, 2012)

End of summer

August 8, 2014, First Half

Playlist:

Opening Set:

  • St. James Infirmary – Allen Toussaint (The Bright Mississippi, 2007)
  • Cry Baby – The Miamis (The Miamis, 1976)
  • Hey, Pretty Girl – The BoDeans (Blend, 1996)
  • Dark Sunglasses – Chrissie Hynde (Stockholm, 2014)
  • Nothing But a Heartache – Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes (Into the Harbour, 2005)
  • Work Song – Bonnie Bramlett & The Mr. Groove Band (Roots, Blues & Jazz, 2006)
  • Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window – Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey (Going Back Home, 2014)
  • (Looking for the) Heart of Saturday Night – Jerry Jeff Walker (It’s a Good Night for Singin’, 1976)

Dick Wagner Callahans 2013                                                                                                                                                                              Dick Wagner (December 14, 1942 – July 20, 2014)

  • Intro/Sweet Jane – Lou Reed (Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal, 1974)
  • Only Women Bleed – Alice Cooper (The Alice Cooper Show, 1977)
  • Wall of Death – Richard Thompson (Acoustic Classics, 2014)
  • I Got the Same Old Blues – Eric Clapton with Tom Petty (Breeze: An Appreciation of J. J. Cale, 2014)
  • Muddy Waters Blues – Elkie Brooks (Don’t Cry Out Loud, 2004)

Rod de'Ath                                                                                                                                                                                    Rod de’Ath (June 18, 1950 – August 1, 2014)

  • Bullfrog Blues – Rory Gallagher (Live at My Father’s Place, 1974)
  • When a Guitar Plays the Blues – Roy Buchanan (Shredding the Blues, 2014; Recorded at My Father’s Place, 1978)

 

August 8, 2014, Second Half

Playlist:

  • Reading from ‘Here Comes the Night’ by Joel Selvin
  • Shake It Up, Baby (Twist and Shout) – The Top Notes (Single, 1961)
  • A Little Bit of Soap – The Jarmels (Single, 1961)
  • Cry Baby – Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters (Cry Baby, 1963)
  • Here Comes the Night – Them (Single, 1965)
  • Hang on Sloopy – The McCoys (Hang on Sloopy, 1965)
  • Twist and Shout – The Isley Brothers (Single, 1962)
  • Twenty-Five Miles – Edwin Starr (25 Miles, 1968)
  • Piece of My Heart – Janis Joplin (The Woodstock Experience, 1969)

bangladesh

  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps – George Harrison (The Concert for Bangla Desh, 1971)
  • It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry – Bob Dylan (The Concert for Bangla Desh, 1971)
  • Love Minus Zero/No Limit – Bob Dylan (The Concert for Bangla Desh, 1971)
  • Bangla Desh – George Harrison (The Concert for Bangla Desh, 1971)

Allman Brothers

  • You Don’t Love Me – The Allman Brothers (The final song played at The Fillmore East, June 27, 1971) (The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings, 2014)

 

  • Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) – Sly & The Family Stone (Single, 1969)

 

August 1, 2014, First Half

OWWR_LOGO

Playlist:

Opening Set:

  • St. James Infirmary – Allen Toussaint (The Bright Mississippi, 2007)
  • Of Thee I Sing – Leon Russell (Leon Russell & The Shelter People , 1971)
  • Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple (Machine Head, 1972)
  • I Thank You – ZZ Top (Deguello, 1979)
  • Susie Q – Dale Hawkins (Wildcat Tamer, 1999)
  • Right Place, Wrong Time (In the Right Place, 1973)
  • Gimme Shelter – Merry Clayton (Gimme Shelter, 1969)

 

  • The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll – Mott the Hoople (The Hoople, 1974)
  • Nut Rocker – B. Bumble & The Stingers (Single, 1962)
  • Wah-Wah – George Harrison (All Things Must Pass, 1970)
  • Sensitive Kind – Eric Clapton (Breeze: An Appreciation of J. J. Cale, 2014)
  • The Cover of “Rolling Stone” – Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show (Sloppy Seconds, 1972)
  • Six Days on the Road – Johnny Rivers (Single, 1974)
  • Spill the Wind – Eric Burdon & War (Eric Burdon Declares “War”, 1970)
  • Miss Ann – Delaney & Bonnie (To Bonnie from Delaney, 1972)
  • Mary, Mary – The Paul Butterfield Band (East-West, 1966)
  • C. C. Rider – Robert Lockwood, Jr. (Delta Crossroads, 1999)
  • Baby, What You Want Me to Do – Lonnie Mack (Whatever’s Right, 1999)

August 1, 2014, Second Half

OWWR_LOGO

Playlist:

  • Help Me, Rhonda – The Beach Boys with The Grateful Dead (Live at the Fillmore East, April 27, 1971)
  • Surfer Girl – Paul Simon (An All-Star Tribute to Brian Wilson, 2001)
  • The Drunkard – Steeleye Span (Rocket Cottage, 1976)
  • The Loco-Motion – The Bunch (Rock-On, 1972)
  • Dawn – The Mahavishnu Orchestra ( The Inner Mountain Flame, 1971)
  • Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan (Gaucho, 1980)
  • You Keep Me Hangin’ On – Aretha Franklin (Recorded in 1969; released on Rare & Unreleased Recordings from the Golden Reign of the Queen of Soul, 2007)
  • Heartbreak Hotel – Albert King (Blues for Elvis: Albert King does the King’s Things, 1970)
  • Since I Met You Baby – B. B. King with Katie Webster (Blues Summit, 1993)
  • That’s Alright – Freddie King (Live at the Electric Ballroom, 1974)
  • The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll – Cashman & West (The AM-FM Blues, 1973)
  • I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore – The Young Rascals (The Young Rascals, 1966)
  • Sam Cooke Medley – Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes (Reach Up & Touch the Sky, 1981)
  • Sugar, Sugar – Wilson Pickett (Right On, 1970)
  • You Can’t Put Your Arm Around a Memory – Willy DeVille (I Only Wrote This Song for You; A Tribute to Johnny Thunders, 1995)
  • You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me – The Miracles (The Fabulous Miracles, 1962)
  • Jack the Ripper – Roy Buchanan (Released on The Alligator Records 25th Anniversary Collection, 1996; recorded – no information)
  • I Want to Take You Higher – Sly & The Family Stone (Woodstock, 1969)
  • (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones (US: Out of Our Heads, 1965; UK: Single, 1965)

July 25, 2014, First Half

Playlist:

Opening Set:

  • St. James Infirmary – Allen Toussaint (The Bright Mississippi, 2007)
  • Louie Louie – Robert Plant (Soundtrack to ‘Wayne’s World 2’, 1993)
  • Like Nothing That You’ve Seen – Mark Lindsay (Life Out Loud, 2013)
  • The Train Kept A Rollin’ – The Yardbirds (Having a Rave Up, 1965)
  • Bang a Gong (Get It On) – T. Rex (Electric Warrior, 1971)
  • Traveling Band – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Cosmo’s Factory, 1970)
  • The Curly Shuffle – Jump in the Saddle Band (Jump in the Saddle Band, 1983)
  • Hard Time – Walter Trout (The Blues Came Callin’, 2014)`

 

  • I Wanna Marry You – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (The River, 1980)
  • As Long as I (Can Be With You) – Patty Scialfa (Rumble Doll, 1993)

Evan James Springsteen, first-born son of Bruce Springsteen & Patti Scialfa, born on this day in 1992

Bruce & Patti

Bruce and Evan

  • Beeswing – Richard Thompson (Acoustic Classics, 2014)
  • When the Spell is Broken – Richard Thompson (Acoustic Classics, 2014)
  • Fair Warning – The Rails (Fair Warning, 2014)
  • Bye Bye Baby – Mary Wells (Bye Bye Baby I Don’t Want to Take a Chance, 1961)
  • Got to Get You Off My Mind – Huey Lewis & The News (Soulsville, 2010)
  • Mercy, Mercy, Mercy – Leslie Zimei (Black and White, 2014)
  • I Don’t Know What You Got – Little Richard (Mr. Big, 1970)
  • Watch Your Back – Martha Reeves (Home to You, 2004)
  • Broken Bones & Pocket Change – St. Paul & The Broken Bones (Half the City, 2014)

The New Album from Leslie Zimei (Available at CDBaby.com and I-Tunes)

Black and White

 

July 25, 2014, Second Half

 

Playlist:

  • Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan (The ‘Royal Albert Hall’ Concert, 1966)
  • Cod’ine – Buffy Sainte-Marie (It’s My Way, 1964)
  • That’s Alright – Keb’ Mo’ (Bluesamericana, 2014)
  • Key to the Highway – Junior Wells (Live a Theresa’s, 1975)
  • Baila Mi Cha Cha – Neil Schon, Gregg Rolie, Jose Chepito Areas, Mike Shrieve, Alphonso Johnson, Mike Carabello (Abraxas Pool, 1997)
  • I Like It Like That – Pete Rodriguez (Soundtrack to ‘Chef’, 2014; Originally appeared on I Like It Like That, 1967)
  • Ball ‘n’ Chain – Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (Ball ‘n’ Chain, 1968)
  • Hound Dog – Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (Single, 1953)

Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (December 11, 1926 – July 25, 1984)

BigMamaThornton

  • See That My Grave is Kept Clean – Guy Davis (Juba Dance, 2013)
  • You Showed Me – The Verbs (Cover Story, 2014)
  • Black and White – Leslie Zimei (Black and White, 2014)
  • I Know There’s an Answer – Sonic Youth (Smiles, Vibes & Harmony, 1990)
  • Paper Sun – Traffic (Heaven is in Your Mind, 1969)
  • Midnight Sun – Ghost of a Saber-Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp) (Midnight Sun, 2014)
  • I Misunderstood – Richard Thompson (Acoustic Classics, 2014)
  • Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) – Sly & The Family Stone (Single 1969)

 

July 18, 2014, First Half

Playlist:

Opening Set

  • St. James Infirmary – Allen Toussaint (The Bright Mississippi, 2007)
  • Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll – Huey Lewis & The News (Sports, 1984)
  • Party Town – Glenn Frey (No Fun Aloud, 1982)
  • New York City – John Lennon, Yoko Ono & The Elephants Memory Band (Sometime in New York City, 1972)
  • Don’t Look Back – Fine Young Cannibals (The Raw & The Cooked, 1989)
  • Teenage City – The Dahlmanns (All Dahled Up, 2011)
  • Bang! – The Raveonettes (In and Out of Control, 2009)
  • It’s a Wild Weekend – NRBQ (Wild Weekend, 1989)
  • 21st Century Chicken Shack Back Blues – Andy Statman (Old Brooklyn, 2011)
  • Baby, What You Want Me to Do? – Dion (Bronx in Blue, 2005)
  • Blue Suede Shoes – Dion (Heroes: Giants of Early Guitar Rock, Volume 1, 2008)

Happy Birthday, Dion DiMucci (1939)

dion_dimucci

  • Blue Anthem – Charlie Haden & The Liberation Music Orchestra (Not in Our Name, 2003)
  • I Won’t Grow Up – Rickie Lee Jones (Pop Pop, 1991)

Charlie Haden (August 6, 1937 – July 11, 2014)

charlie-haden

  • Why Do You Treat Me So Bad? – Martha Reeves (Home to You, 2004)

Happy Birthday, Martha Reeves (1941)

martha reeves

  • I Put a Spell on You – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (At Home with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, 1956)

Screamin’ Jay (Jalacy) Hawkins (1929 – Februaryy 12, 2000)

screamin-jay-hawkins

  • Rag Doll – The Four Seasons (Rag Doll, 1964)
  • Chelsea Girls – Nico (Chelsea Girl, 1967)

Nico (Christa Paffgen) (October 16, 1938 – July 18, 1988)

nico