There’s nothing not to like about Breathe Deep, the Laurie Morvan Band’s latest release of rocking electric guitar blues. The CD contains terrific blues tunes, written by a strong woman, with an amazing sense of humor, and a sense of the blues, who just happens to play some blistering, SRV-style lead guitar. Makes Lady K want to holler ‘You go, girl!’ The band includes Laurie Morvan (guitar, lead vocals), Lisa (Grubbs) Morvan (percussion, back-up vocals), Pat Morvan (bass), Kevin Murillo (drums), and Tommy Salyers (keyboards); along with guest artists Dave Matthews (Wurlitzer), Tony Braunagel (drums) and Carolyn Kelley (back-up vocals).
“No Working During Drinking Hours” is an up-tempo, swingy tune, with humorous lyrics, describing an innovative new work ethic for her man: Just think about how the work-a-day world could be improved if everyone switched to Laurie’s protocol. (Lady K will have a Bombay and tonic, please – a tall one.)
Lady K’s favorite tracks: “Saved by the Blues”, a mid-tempo, rockin’ tune that describes the first time you really hear blues music. She went ‘searching for Jesus on a steamy summer night; and came upon Robert Johnson at a crossroads’ (are you lovin’ this?). ‘She sang his praises and gave him his due and he said: “Do you love the blues, like without it you’ll come undone? Do you need the blues, like the night needs the setting sun? The path to salvation is yours to choose.” She fell to her knees, having been saved by the blues.’ And Laurie’s guitar will make a believer out of you too. “It Only Hurts When I Breathe”, is a slow, sexy-blues, love song with an incredibly long guitar and drum duet that is impressive enough to make you forget the tune is not instrumental. Not that I’m saying the lyrics aren’t terrific, just two perfect halves, making a perfect whole!! He’s gone and she softly, sadly, sings ‘The sweet scent of your cologne lingers on your favorite shirt, still hanging softly in the hall. It feels so gentle against my skin, that I can’t resist its call. So I press it up to my face, I inhale that need. Now it only hurts when I breathe.’
“Mojo Mama” is a funny-crazy tutorial on all of the black-magic tools of the trade she’s planning to use to bewitch a man: rattlesnake shaker on an alligator tail, chicken bone chimes, hog jaw gumbo, rabbit foot stew, black cat charm. Laurie sings “I’m Your Mojo Mama, won’t you be my voodoo doll”, in this up-tempo tune, with plenty of guitar riffs, and enough threat to make a guy watch his back (one would think).
“Back Up the Train” has a funky sound, and another life lesson, drawing parallel meaning from a train ride and a relationship (‘back up the train, it’s time to unload the pain, back up the train, we’re headed in the wrong direction’).
“Bad Love Blues” is a different look at life and love, in that she seems to have found the perfect man (and now she’s telling him how lucky he is and why everything seems perfect to her). “I let you make my dinner, I let you wash my clothes, I let you treat me like a lady, I even let you bring me a rose. But I get no appreciation for everything I do – you just whine and complain like it’s all about you. You give me those bad love, down on my luck, blues.”
The mid-tempo, swingy “Beat Up From the Feet Up” says it all (‘Well your face is too fat, your wallet too thin, You want a little peace but the world rushes in and you’re . . . beat up from the feet up. Oh what trouble you’ve had, you’re wore down, Freddie King tore down’) – great lyrics, and again, terrific blues. “Thelma and Louise” is a state of mind and a goal when life is getting you down, sung to a cool, up-tempo, finger-snapping, swingy tune: “Come on, we’re gonna go out in the night to howl at the moon; jump without looking, speak too soon. Live too large, play too much, like Thelma and Louise, we’re gonna live it up.”
In addition to great blues music, this album is chock full of lifelines for the lonely, escape clauses for those in bad relationships, lessons for those learning about blues music. And, by the way, that’s something that doesn’t end; blues lovers just keep learning about blues music. Thanks Laurie, for reminding us.