Suzanne & The Blues Church

Suzanne & The Blues Church
The Cost of Love

Gorgeous Tone Music

By Lady K
June 2012

Suzanne Thomas once won second place in a Hendrix competition; she gets bragging rights for that – and rightfully so. She is a very busy woman on The Cost of Love: she plays lead guitar, rhythm guitar, some organ, and sings lead vocals (in a husky blues voice that just works with and completely compliments her lyrics and music). And of the ten tunes on this album, eight are originals and it looks as tho’ Suzanne Thomas wrote music, lyrics or both on seven tracks (Ray Bailey wrote “Musta Been Gone 2 Long”).

The Blues Church (motto: electric as we want 2 be), in addition to Suzanne, is Ray Bailey (guitar, bass, drums); Jerry Jones-Haskins (drums); Frank W. Garrett (bass); Patrice (bass); Bruce Edwards (organ and Fender Rhodes); “Rev “ Charles Jones (Hammond B-3); Tyree (organ); BR Million (guitar); and Jimmy “Z” (harmonica).

The Cost of Love includes two covers. Suzanne and the band did Otis Rush proud on his rockin’ blues tune, “All Your Love (I Miss Lovin)”. Lady K hopes Buddy Guy hears Suzanne’s version of “Damn Right I Got the Blues;” she plays bass, lead AND rhythm on this one – and sings lead vocals, and Jimmy Z is right there with her on harmonica.

When a woman sings the blues, it can’t be a surprise to anyone that the subject of those blues just might be a man (they are such easy targets). “Cheatin’ On Me” is a slow funky blues tune (with killer guitar), admonishing her cheating man: “You think I don’t know where you go or who you see”; and, highlighting how very stupid some men can be, this particular lowlife was doing his cheating right next door - easier to catch than she expected!!!! The title song is a mid-tempo blues shuffle and bemoans the cost of loving a user: “Gotta pay the price if I want a little lovin’ . . . gotta buy you a drink if I want to see you smile – you’ve got me spending all my money ... I can’t get no lovin’ if I don’t, and I’m barely getting by ... that just ain’t my style.” “Set Me Free” is slow, slow sexy blues at its best. There are strange phone calls to his phone, he’s too tired for anything but going to bed – but he just wants to watch TV in that bed! She asks, “Why don’t you just set me free . . . why can’t you set me free? Am I a woman in love or just a woman who’s too blind to see?” Suzanne makes this a duet with her guitar.

More killer guitar made the “Pay Day Loan” shuffle one of my favorite tunes on this CD. The lyrics are a reflection on the turmoil and shame that the trying economy is forcing on a lot of people these days: ‘Standing in a line, trying to get another pay day loan . . . line is so long’. The woman behind the counter gives her a hard time, so she just goes home -- without a dime; but she still has her guitar. When you hear this tune, you’ll be glad she had that guitar.

“Musta Been Gone 2 Long” was produced with an interesting sound – kinda scratchy, like old vinyl that was played hard. Lady K has many LPs that went to lots of parties, back in the day, and they sound “used,” just like this track. It’s a cool effect. “Dusty 6 String Box” has a Delta sound and story feel to it, with incredible lyrics that just won’t work here; it’s more saga than song. The funky blues tune “Poor Man’s Dream” showcases some truly funky guitar sounds (funk goes well with blues, by the way). It’s an upbeat tune about being down-on-one’s-luck: “I got so much money, but I can’t buy me a ticket to the moon – I’m livin’ in a poor man’s dream. Today I wrote a check just to watch the damned thing bounce.”

“Mr. Bailey” is packed with some wild-ass screaming guitar blues. Guess every blues-man and -woman has a driving desire to come face-to-face with Robert Johnson at the Crossroads. In Suzanne’s version, Mr. Johnson stops, stares, and says “Gal, we been wonderin’, where you been.” Love it!!

<- back to Features