Candye Kane is, by now, a veteran of a number of mediums, some of which are not fit to be discussed on a family-friendly site like this. But her new album with guitarist Laura Chavez, Sister Vagabond is pretty PG rated. The songs themselves stick pretty closely to the rockabilly formula, mostly mid-tempo numbers with a strong backbeat, and a few slower more ballad-type songs thrown in for good measure. Whether or not this a good thing or a bad thing, I’ll leave for you to decide. For me, the homogeneity of the genre gets a bit tiring in places, and it’s the songs that don’t stick to formula that work better, like “Walkin’ Talkin’ Haunted House”, which in the company of the other songs is like a funeral dirge, more the Cramps than Carl Perkins. Definitely the best song on the album, it’s an extended metaphor of a woman pursued by the ghosts of past loves. Other highlights are “Have a Nice Day”, a somewhat bizarre Bo Diddley beat mixed with horns and accordion. Weird, but cool. “You Can’t Take It Back From Here” is another good one, a creepy, understated groove with some superb fills from Chavez, whose playing throughout livens up even the most dull, cliche tracks. A few songs just don’t work for me; “Love Insurance” is another extended metaphor that sounds clumsy and awkward, and a few songs are almost indistinguishable from each other in large chunks, such as “Side Dish” and “You Never Cross My Mind”. All in all, a few great tracks and a lot of great guitar work, but not enough to elevate this beyond being a rather generic modern-day rockabilly album.
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