Barbara Carr

Barbara Carr
Keep the Fire Burning

Catfood Records

By Lady K
October 2012

Lady K is smiling . . . Barbara Carr’s blues with soul CD is responsible.

On Keep the Fire Burning Barbara Carr’s fantastic soulful vocals are backed by Catfood Records’ house band, The Rays, including: Johnny McGhee (guitar); Bob Trenchard (bass, also songwriter and owner of Catfood Records); Dan Ferguson (keyboards); Richy Puga (drums, percussion); Andy Roman (sax); Mike Middleton (trumpet); and Robert Claiborne (trombone).

The 11 tracks on this CD were all written by Johnny Rawls or Bob Trenchard, except for “Hanging On by a Thread” – which, in addition to Rawls and Trenchard, included Sandy Carroll. The track has a mid-tempo beat, the organ is great, and the horns give the tune a real big-band sound (you almost picture the horn section blowing and moving together in a Motown step). The lyrics are as soulful as the music: “I reach out for you and call your name / every night it’s still the same. Ain’t nothing but pain / can’t hold on no longer, I’m at the end of my rope / Give me a reason, give me some hope, feeling nothin’ but pain / hanging on by a thread.”

“Come on Home” is a mid-tempo tune, and here the horns seem to be providing back-up vocals – they are nearly voices – very impressive. She, sadly: “Didn’t think you had the nerve to leave / you fooled me this time. What I wouldn’t give, just to hold you tonight / come back home / come on home, where you belong, I promise I’ll treat you right.”

The third track, “We Have the Key,” is a slow and sexy love song with emotion-packed lyrics: “I’ve been around the world, this is true / I never met no one like you, believe me / you know my life was incomplete, till I met you / you made my life worth living / I never knew love could feel like this / there’s the door, baby we have the key / forever darling, you and me / we have the key.” The sassy “I Got the Blues” includes some kick-ass guitar and is up-tempo, even while lamenting the hardscrabble beginning to her life: “Raised back in the woods in a little raggedy shack – all that I owned was on my back / I got the blues y’all / and when I sing the blues, I know what I’m singing bout / when I sing the blues I know what I’m talkin’ bout – got ‘em all down in my shoes / nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.”

“Keep the Fire Burning” is a sex tutorial (from all women, to all men); it’s a mid-tempo number, and all about needing love. “I want a man to keep me satisfied / he knows when I’m in the mood and yes he knows what he’s got to do / he’s got to keep the fire burning all night long / when he hears me yearning / when I call on him, I don’t want to be denied / keep the fire burning, let it burn.”

She cheated, and she’s sorry, in “Moment of Weakness.” “I fell from grace / in a moment of weakness, he took your place / he meant nothing to me, there’s nothing I can say / in a moment of weakness, I threw it all away.” And the next tune, “Back Together Again,” is all about renewing an old relationship. “When I saw you coming you put a smile on my face / I been gone so long, how many years has it been? You were my lover, you were my friend / now here we are baby, we’re back together again.”

Lady K’s favorite tune on Keep the Fires Burning is a good old-fashioned duet featuring Johnnie Rawls as Barbara’s vocal partner. “Hold On to What You Got” is a slow song, meant for slow, romantic dancing. Johnny: “If you’ve got a good woman, you better hold on to what you got / a good woman is hard to find, and I’m glad I’ve got mine / she’s not only my lover, she’s my best friend.” Barbara: “If you’ve got a good man you better hold on to what you got / we’ve been together so very long, he stood by me whether I was right or wrong / he’s not only my lover, he’s my best friend.”

“You Give Me the Blues” is a slow-ish, blues/rock number, bemoaning her poor choice of a partner: She goes to work to pay for his suits and shoes and he gives her nothing but the blues. There’s more killer guitar in the up-tempo “What You Gonna Do,” where she warns him “If you don’t want to be here, tell me the truth.”

Keep the Fires Burning contains soul-satisfying songwriting, along with terrific musicians accompanying the soulfully impressive Ms. Barbara Carr. Lady K is still smiling; listen – soulful blues feel good!!

<- back to Features