Lisa Marie & All Shook Up

Lisa Marie & All Shook Up
Live review - all female lineup

By Bill Copeland
November 2006

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Lisa Marie has been toying with the idea of creating an all-female line-up of her rotating cast of musicians she calls All Shook Up.

Last Saturday night at Del Vaudo's in Nashua, N.H. saw the fulfillment of her goal. Her All Shook Up band was made up of veteran blues belter Liz Lannon, guitarist Stacy Queen, bass player Susan Goldberg, and drummer Diane "Trixie" Gately.

And yes, these ladies can play and sing like the best of them, and they proved themselves to be no novelty act. They performed fully realized versions of classic and modern blues numbers as well as one of Lisa Marie's originals.

They hit their stride on second song "Fever," with Lisa Marie's svelte voice melting like butter over Queen's considerate guitar lines that seemed to sneak up on the singer. This combination of singer and guitar made "Fever" a bit more rockin' than the previous recordings most of us are familiar with.

Many songs were marked by the harmonies of the two powerhouse singers as well as the unique players. Goldberg's adept performance on her Steinberger bass---which resembles the stick bass---allowed her to fill in a lot of the space on many songs, turning her low end instrument into something that could be as wide as the melodies and something that also shadows and supports them.

Lannon's rangy, raspy timbre had the right amount of power on "Run, Hide, Anyway You Roll" as her voice became part of the wall of sound created as Queen's crunchy, thick-sounding solo resonated with richness and depth.

Goldberg and drummer Gately dominated "Walkin' The Dog" with their thumpin' groove that hypnotized one couple onto the dance floor and had the crowd in that mood of nodding their heads to the beat. Here Goldberg had a chance to showcase her ability to move a song forward with runs that were as wide and encompassing as melodies.

Queen handled the slower songs with lower pitches that pulled eloquent melodies out her axe. This guitarist made it look easy to control the dynamics and tones of an electric guitar, some solos higher than the main phrases, which often found her pressing out notes from the lower range.

Lisa Marie's original tune, "Wake Up, Baby!," slated to be released on her upcoming debut album, got the sweet treatment with her childlike timbre that she uses on this number. Queen's guitar unleashed a blistering cascade of notes here, and her solo seemed to keep getting even better while she created tension between her fierce timbres and the singer's girlish, youthful vocal approach.

Lannon, who will release another disc early next year, performed the Robert Johnson tune "Going Down Slow" with a soulful voice that wrung the heart out of the twisty lyrics. But Lisa Marie, a less experienced singer on the New England blues scene, could hold her own against the veteran blues belter. "Standing On Shaky Ground" found Lisa Marie's lithe voice belting out with attitude, cutting through the groove to make clear she is the chick in charge of this number.

Lannon's crowning achievement of the night, "As The Years Go Passing By," by Albert King put her in front of the band with a striking vocal presence while Queen's monster guitar solo rocked the tune up - her notes being pulled not only from her instrument but also from some place deep and personal inside, the way blues music must always be played.

"Chain Of Fools" gave the two singers another chance to harmonize over an unusually slow groove for this tune, before Lannon reminded me of an older era blues chanteuse with her old school approach to "Blue Monday."

Lannon's voice made me think of songs that were recorded when radios were housed inside wooden cabinets. Lannon also performed "Still Love You"" by Andre Williams of Detroit, and "My Babe" by Willie Dixon, two tunes from her latest disc that allowed Lisa Marie to jump in with some fine harmonies.

There were simply too many strong moments in this show to document them all in a brief live review. Lisa Marie and All Shook Up will return to Del Vaudo's on New Year's Eve. The owner was overheard praising the harmonies and imploring Lisa Marie to bring back the all female line-up for that show.

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