Los Angeles native Candye Kane is a truly self-styled, multiple award-winning juggernaut of a jump blues singer.  Her talents as a performer– specifically, her powerhouse voice and her larger-than-life persona– have often competed for attention with (and were sometimes eclipsed by) her truly amazing life story.  Through her decades in the public eye, Kane has also been an advocate for the GLBT community and for sex workers, a poster girl for the beauty of bigger women, and an adult film star.  She has no regrets about or apologies for any of the so-called “controversial” aspects of her past careers. But back to the music… and Kane’s tenth album “Superhero”  is some very fine music indeed.  Her sassy, bold persona comes through in a big way on this disc.  Candye’s delivery is hard-hitting, and her energy level is truly infectious. Blues may be her affinity, but Kane’s punk, rock, cabaret, and American pop influences really make the whole musical picture. The album’s opener and title track, “Superhero”, emerges an an anthem of empowerment for all of us. This song is actually one of a trio of tunes on the album which was written about Kayne’s own struggle with– and triumph over– pancreatic cancer.  But then again, every song on this album is a bona fide, all-out performance.  The deliciously dark “I Put a Hex on You” is a true gem, a bad girl’s companion piece to Screamin’ Jay Hawkin’s classic “I Put a Spell on You”.  Revenge never sounded so sweet as the song pairs seductive rythms with lyrics like:
“I got a voodoo gris gris,
And a piece of your hair;
I said an incantation,
You ain’t got a prayer;
I burned your picture,
with a black cord knot;
Stuck a needle in a doll,
That looks like you a lot…”

     Kane’s thick-as-molasses blues version of “I’m A Bad, Bad Girl” is an homage to her notorious past, as well as a prime showcase for Kane’s belting abilities.  “Ik Hou Van Je” (Dutch for “I Love You”) is one of the album’s many high points: a piano-driven, high-energy romp where Candye declares variations of “I love you” in at least 16 languages.  She musically summarizes with “The words are universal, and one thing is true; In every corner of the world, we all say ‘I love you!'”.  There’s no cool down period after this track; she moves right ahead with the immortal question “Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?”  Kane gives us a smart, snappy, wild ride take on the oft-redone classic by Jack Temchin and Bobby Whittlock, featuring exceptionally dynamic guitar work.  Flanked by some heavy rock guitar, Ms. Kane roars like a true goddess of rock ‘n’ roll for “You Need Love” (Astute listeners will note that this is the song which largely inspired Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”.), “Till You Go Too Far”, and “You Can’t Stop Me from Loving You”.  Who can sing these songs with more conviction than this renegade artist? “I Like ‘Em Stacked Like That” is a duet with smooth-voiced blueser Mitch Kashmar.  He praises voluptuous women, she praises brainy guys… and by the time their joyous synergy reaches a climax with both of them crooning “I like ’em stacked like that!”, the listener will want to grab the nearest thing resembling a microphone and join them.  Kane reinvents herself as cool 1950’s chick with the malt-shop flavored “I Didn’t Listen to My Heart” and “Throw It In the Trash Can Love”.  Think of this pair  as the greatest songs which never made it onto the “Grease” soundtrack.  “Superhero” closes with “I’m Gonna Be Just Fine”, an unadorned song also inspired by Kane’s own fight for survival.

     Whether or not blues is your musical genre of choice, this superbly produced deserves to be noted as one of the best of 2009.  It’s a hot, sweet time!


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