It seems nothing can keep Candye Kane down. Her back story is remarkable - abused teenager, sex-trade worker, cancer survivor - yet there's an undeniable joy in her music that comes through loud and clear on Come Out Swinging. (An earlier album was called "Toughest Girl Alive" and spawned a stage play).
Working once again with musical foil / guitarist Laura Chavez, Kane delivers a - forgive the cliché - knockout collection. The title track sets the pace, swinging furiously and featuring fleet guitar, muted trumpets, and a jungle-drum breakdown.
And that jazzy-jump-blues feel predominates; though Kane does have her tender moments, this is definitely a party platter, with titles that include "I'm The Reason Why You Drink" and "Marijuana Boogie," the latter delivered in a comically over-the-top accent. Sue Palmer adds rollicking, honky-tonk piano to most tunes, and there's a fine horn section featuring Johnny Vaiu on sax. Credit, too, goes to drummer Fred Rautmann, who keeps things lively throughout.
Chavez, an absolutely killer guitarist, co-wrote most of the originals, and "We'll dance in the sun / When tomorrow comes," sings Kane in the song of the same name, as cheerfully optimistic as it sounds. The rousing "Rise Up" is equally uplifting, while "You Ain't All That" is no-nonsense sassy and "Au Revoir Y'All" turns out to be a zydeco romp.
Kane is nothing if not honest, and "Invisible Woman" is a devastating look at how it feels to be tossed to the sidelines by life. "Darling Baby" is pure, honking rock n' roll, with some of Kane's most impassioned pleading, as is Rick Estrin's "What Love Can Do."
Kane's voice is on the thin side but she delivers every line with such exuberant relish it never seems to matter- she's a larger than life presence in any groove. Chavez, who seems to operate intuitively with Kane, provides exemplary support; this really is a team effort, and it's all the better for it. Very good stuff!