Skye Paige & The Original Recipe
Whole Lotta Woman
Most of the lyrical tales of romantic woe, new-found independence, and amusingly bitchy disdain on singer/guitarist Skye Paige's guitar-driven twang-rock album Whole Lotta Woman kick ass. Some are a little too silly to take seriously. Simultaneously amusing and disturbing, Paige comes off as a cheated lady who just got over a lousy break-up or two. Still pissed off with a laundry list of gripes, she's more empowered and determined to kick back into action ... not before she vents over the microphone in a slightly exaggerated hick accent, though.
Whole Lotta Woman has its hokey moments, but the 10-song collection is more personal, straightforward, and rockin' than some of Paige's previous studio efforts. She shed the politeness and got a little meaner. Vocally, she seems particularly inspired by some of the classic ladies of old-school country and rockabilly as well, conjuring the likes of Loretta Lynn, Wanda Jackson, and Minnie Pearl. Musically, she and her band gladly derive well-worn riffs and rhythms from the oldies bin.
Whole Lotta Woman is essentially a solo album with backing from two versions of the Original Recipe. The Charleston lineup features bassist Mike Dumas and drummer Patrick McQueen (both of The Defilers), with extra lead guitar from Bradley McLean (of The Dellortos). Another studio version includes members of Louisiana's twangy bar-rock band Dash Rip Rock — guitarist Bill Davis, bassist Patrick Johnson, and drummer Eric Padua — all of whom recorded with Paige in the Abitan Studios in Abita Springs, La. Both versions of the Original Recipe play things simple, raw, and locked-in with the frontlady's bouncy rock 'n' roll style.
"He's a mean old man/I can't even get him to hold my hand," Paige cracks on the blues-punk lead-off track "Mean Old Man." On "Bad Luck Woman" — a bluesy boogie with dabs of extra Hammond organ from studio man Jeff Hodges (of Charleston Sound) — Paige boasts an even more pronounced bad-ass attitude. Paige belts, "I want to feel the vibration between my thighs" on the Chuck Berry-chuggin' "Just Wanna Ride."
The title track jumps into what sounds like CCR's "Bad Moon Rising" before veering into a 1-4-5 arrangement. The intro to the nose-thumbin' rockabilly track "I Ain't Effin' Stupid" (co-written with John Preble) resembles Bauhaus' "Béla Lugosi's Dead" if the original session had been time-warped to Sun Studios circa 1958.
Despite the occasionally derivative moments, Whole Lotta Woman works pretty well. The impact is blunt, but Paige certainly articulates what's on her mind with gusto and conviction. (skyepaige.com)
Skye Paige & The Original Recipe share the stage with Hick'ry Hawkins at the Mill on Sat. June 5.