KAREN LAWRENCE and Blue By Nature – Best Of Live [remastered] (2018)
After the two excellent 1994 band remastered albums featured here, some of you asked for more material of vocalist KAREN LAWRENCE. She just released a new album recorded with his band KAREN LAWRENCE and Blue By Nature, titled “Best Of Live [remastered]”.
A stage performer continually since the age of 9, she fronted her first band, a blues outfit, at the age of 13. As front woman for the A&M Records band 1994 (produced by Jack Douglas) Lawrence’s distinctive and emotive vocal stylings frequently put her on international critics’ “Best Female Singer” lists. Wrote Kerrang! ; “it was 1994’s Karen Lawrence who gave the others the choice of being second best or giving up”.
She sang backup vocals on “Get it up” from Draw the Line by Aerosmith, and in addition to lead vocal and writing credits on Jeff Beck’s Epic/Legacy release Beckology, Slash and many more, Lawrence’s most notable coup was composing “Prisoner (Love Theme from Eyes of Laura Mars)”, immortalized by Barbra Streisand. Over 4 times platinum, the song has been identified in songbooks as one of the one hundred best love songs.
During the Nineties, Karen Lawrence seems to have found her calling as a blues singer, her first love. Blue by Nature was formed in March 1993, when Lawrence and her collaborator of 14 years, rhythm guitarist Fred Hostetler, joined up with longtime friend Rick Dufay.
Dufay, a former Aerosmith axeman, delivered an explosive and provocative guitar sound to the band. Four years and three critically acclaimed CD’s later, Dufay left to pursue a solo career and the torch was passed to young Brad Ayers, who appeared on the band’s last album. Shortly after the CD was finished, his promising career ended when he died of natural causes.
A double-CD of live material from 1998, entitled “Live By The Lake” was described by critics back in those days as “a bit on the wearing side.” Cue up the rhythm guitarist from that set, Fred Hostetler.
He hand-picked and edited the original versions of the songs to make them, perhaps, more “critic-friendly, with Robbie Cribbs aiding in the remastering process.
The results are the eight vibrant cuts that comprise Karen Lawrence And Blue By Nature with “Best Of Live!”
The songs showcase Karen’s spot-on writing skills as she tackles life, love, relationships, and being female in a “good ole boys”-dominated industry. Her vocals here will immediately call to mind Janis Joplin or Tina Turner yet with a more ‘melodic muscle’ akin Ann Wilson, and they are emotion-packed and as powerful as they come.
From the opening faltering vocal of ‘Fun And Games’ you get the emotion draining out of Ms Lawrence vocal – you can just imaging the head lifted and the eyes shut as she pours her soul out all over the stage.
The funky strut of ‘I Had It All Wrong’ underpins a blistering vocal that just about tears the paint off the walls, where Rick Dufay is all over the wah-wah and lead guitar of the ultra-funky story that finds our heroine unable to “wait to play the field”. Killer tune.
Karen offers up a couple of cool, female-empowerment anthems. Set over a roadhouse-rockin’ arrangement, she tells off a lover who’s up to no good that “you can leave me flat, I’ll Get Along Alright!”
Then, Karen and Rick (on that killer slide guitar!), strike a Delaney and Bonnie groove on “You’ve Got Me Workin”, while ‘Its Been So Long’ shows she can do a more subtle touch to her music as well.
If any flaws did ever exist in the original versions of these songs, Fred and Robbie buried them — deep. They left us with eight stunning recordings that define an ebullient, fun-loving, lover-of-life singer, Karen Lawrence and Blue By Nature, with “Best Of Live!”.
This is much more than just a bluesy rock album; all songs are greatly written / arranged, you have an incledible singer, the guitar work is superb – seriously, Rick Dufay is terrific – and an excellent recording / sound quality.
Watch / listen the video above if still not convinced… do yourself a favor and grab this album right now. It kills, believe me.
01 – Fun and Games
02 – I Had It All Wrong
03 – Another Day, Another Mile
04 – You Got a Way About You
05 – I’ll Get Along Alright
06 – You’ve Got Me Workin’
07 – It’s Been so Long
08 – It’s All About You
Karen Lawrence – Lead Vocals, Percussion
Rick Dufay – Guitar, Vocals
Fred Hostetler – Guitar, Vocals
Charlie Diaz – Bass
Dan Potruch – Drums
produced by Jack Douglas
BUY IT !