Swinging the beat, swinging from the heels and coming out from the corner swinging: Each meaning applies to the brilliant new record from the volcanic force of nature that is feminist power poet and vocalist Candye Kane. With her extraordinary guitarist and co-writer Laura Chavez and an exceptional group of musicians highlighted by pianist Sue Palmer, she has created a jukebox for the mind that moves the body and spirit with a broad selection of originals and hip covers. Her voice is a finely-tuned, polished instrument capable of moving effortlessly from a sassy, Etta James blues snarl to a defiant Amy Winehouse ache, the jazzy sophistication of the “Queen of Swing” Mildred Bailey, and the rockabilly wildness of the young Wanda Jackson.
Candye has come a long ways from her gritty East L.A. roots and a past that reads like modern film noir as candidly presented in her startling play, The Toughest Girl Alive. Now at the peak of her powers intensified and deepened by surviving the vicissitudes of life, she radiates “joie de vivre” in every note as exemplified by the title track. Like “Sing! Sing! Sing!,” it rumbles with “jungle drums” courtesy of Fred Rautman as Candye exults in her brave battle with serious illness and the unconditional support of her soul mate Laura.