Vaneese Thomas – The Long Journey Home (2016) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Vaneese Thomas – The Long Journey Home (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz  | Time – 55:41 minutes | 613 MB | Genre: Blues
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Segue Records

One of Rufus Thomas’ many talented children, Vaneese Thomas enjoyed some big success in the late ’80s as a solo vocalist on Geffen. Her debut LP, Vaneese Thomas, had a pair of Top 20 R&B hits in “Let’s Talk It Over” and “(I Wanna Get) Close To You” in 1987. While the follow-up record didn’t sustain that success, Thomas remained busy into the early ’90s doing session work for Lenny White, Bob James, Carl Anderson, Freddie Jackson, Beau Williams, Melba Moore, and Sarah Dash. ~ Ron Wynn

With an inherited musical talent, and a professional recording career going back over thirty years, vocalist Vaneese Thomas has appropriately titled her latest release The Long Journey Home, home being her Memphis roots of blues, gospel, and soul. Her last release Blues For My Father, (2014 Segue Records) was an emotional tribute to her father, legendary soul man Rufus Thomas, and this new record continues the family legacy bestowed upon her. Composing eleven of twelve songs, ascertaining she is very much a modern woman with her own story to tell, Thomas delivers a dazzling repertoire, and gives a master class on how this music should be performed.

As is to be expected, Thomas comes out with a full backing chorus on “Sweet Talk Me,” exhibiting her soul roots right from the first track. The greasy down home blues of “Lonely No More,” shows the proper phrasing and articulation that only comes from having been to where the song comes from. The honking tenor solo by Cliff Lyons livens up “Sat’day Night On The River,” flashing back to Louis Jordan and the golden age of rhythm and blues, when this music was played for dancing and good times.

Thomas totally dominates “Mystified,” a contemporary upbeat blues with a sanctified edge, brought out by the clever guitar hook playing off of the horn section, augmented by the rousing chorale. Thomas is obviously at ease here, and simply sings her heart out. Another gem in the set, “Prince Of Fools,” follows this particular formula, yet the pace is brought way down for the proper ambience of romantic regret. The banjo and dobro picking distinguish the churning “Country Funk,” while “Rockin’ The Blues Away,” is a laid back moan, again featuring Peter Calo on dobro. Keeping with the blues tradition, “Revelation,” brings in harmonica man Rob Paparozzi, and Tash Neal on dobro, to enhance the required emotion.

The subject matter gets serious as “The More Things Change,” takes a close look at the civil rights situation in America, and how throughout Thomas’s lifetime there has been some improvement, but it’s a shame that more has not been accomplished. Maintaining that thoughtful mood, she summons up her gospel influences with “Mean World,” where she also plays the appropriate piano accompaniment, in the true church manner.

The blues/rock oriented “I Got A Man In TN,” turns up the guitars as Thomas proves she can belt it out with the best of them. Flowing along the rock current, they close out with a rousing rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” though it might appear an odd choice, this version is given a strong dose of Memphis rhythm and blues, with the background singers adding a spiritual element.

Vaneese Thomas and producer Wayne Warnecke brought in veteran musicians for these sessions, which have the dynamics of a live soul revival caught on tape. Thomas sings with authority and conviction, blessed with a voice she acknowledges comes from her ancestors, who created the blues to give expression to their anguish and joy, and she righteously does them proud. ~ By JAMES NADAL

01. Sweet Talk Me
02. Lonely No More
03. Sat’day Night on the River
04. Mystified
05. Country Funk
06. The More Things Change
07. Prince of Fools
08. I Got a Man in Tn
09. Rockin’ Away the Blues
10. Revelation
11. Mean World
12. The Chain