Raise Your Hands is the VizzTone Records debut for newcomer Long Tall Deb, capitalizing on her success in Memphis with the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge.
Raise Your Hands is a brash and brassy collection featuring 10 originals and two covers (Tom Waits' "New Coat of Paint" and Ian Moore's "Muddy Jesus") that finds the vocalist working with bandmates John Popovich on piano and organ, bassist Melvin Powe, guitarists Sean Carney -- a successful solo artist in his own right -- and Dave Clo, and drummer Jan Roll. She also enlists the help of blues heavyweights Jimmy Thackery, Reese Wynans, Big LLou, Shaun Booker, Damon Fowler, Colin John, Matt O'Ree, Philip Pemberton, Nikki Scott, JP Soars, Bart Walker, Victor Wainwright and the Roomful of Blues Horns.
That's a lot of talent on one album and it would be easy for a vocalist to get lost in those seas but that doesn't happen here. Deb is a capable, engaging vocalist and these talents understand the blues tradition of ensemble playing, which is what we get on Raise Your Hands.
Deb opens the record with some swagger on the cocky, trash-talking "What Would A Good Woman Do." A funky beat propels the finger-wagging, fun-loving rant that good women tired of do-wrong men will surely love. Even the fellas ought to get a charge from the hard rocking, hard charging number that will likely be a hallmark of live shows. "Hush Your Mouth" takes a little velocity off the fastball but there's still a razor sharp rhythm and some great vocal work, both Deb's lead and the harmony arrangement.
"Train To Tucson" is another blues-train song that fails to distinguish itself from the litany of other numbers littering the genre but it's a pleasant listen.
"Let's Get Lost" is an album highlight, revealing Long Tall Deb to be a vocalist capable of both rocking the house as she does earlier on the disc and delivering on slower numbers as she does on "Lost" as well as the next track "The Last Time."
The two covers are saved until near the end of the record and both fit well. "Muddy Jesus" is arranged to sound like it could be one of the originals. Placing the nocturnal "New Coat Of Paint" at the end of the album is smart sequencing, giving the album a soft place to land.
Raise Your Hands is a strong, assured effort from a hard-working newcomer, making Long Tall Deb one to watch.