Bman's Blues Report - Arizona
CD Review - Blues Underground Network - Kamloops Canada
Fantastic, that was my first thought after listening to the first Track of Mama Groove's amazing Debut release, "How Mama Got Her Groove Back", and Fantastic, was also still the thought in my head after the last notes of the last Track had faded.
Over the last couple of years, I have been treated to an amazing amount of exceptionally talented Canadian woman singers, whom front their bands, and now with the introduction to Mama Groove, I can now add Ysabel Gagnon to that list.
Mama Groove are a hugely talented band based in Quebec, Canada and have been together now for about 3 years. The lineup for "How Mama Got Her Groove Back", consisted of Ysabel Gagnon (Vocals/Backing Vocals), Guy Cardinal (Keyboards/Backing Vocals), Jacques Gagne' (Drums/Percussion/Backing Vocals), Sylvain Hache' (Lead/Rhythm Guitar), Joel Marinier (Bass), and George Papafilys (Guitar/Lap Steel/Slide/Lead Guitar on various Tracks). In addition, Louis-Phillipe Gagnon appears on Tracks 5 and 9 as Backing Vocals. Louis-Phillipe Gagnon is brother to Ysabel Gagnon.
"How Mama Got Her Groove Back" consists of 10 originals songs, for which Ysabel Gagnon receives co-writing credit for all of them. Additional co-writing credit goes to George Papafilys, for 2 Songs, and Guy Cardinal for the remaining 8. I was nicely impressed with the length of this Debut album as it clocked in at around 48 minutes, with all Tracks over 4 minutes, except for 1.
When listening to "How Mama Got Her Groove Back", it was quite obvious that Ysabel Gagnon is certainly the cornerstone of Mama Groove, but in addition, it is equally obvious how the rest of the band come together to form the perfect musical foundation. Track 5 "Black Widow" and Track 1 "Soul Distraction", are great examples of that as the other members of the band brilliantly weave in and out and between Ysabel's dynamic Vocals.
When listening to "How Mama Got Her Groove Back", I got a real nice feelmix of powerful Blues Rock, mixed in with Blues Rock Ballads, Funk, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, and even a little, what I like to call Country Pop, as with Track 6 "Shattered In Thousand Pieces".
As a whole, I truly enjoyed this Album immensely; it certainly kept me entertained throughout and was full of nice surprises, especially when Ysabel Gagnon did some creative dubbing with here voice on a few tracks to get a really nice duet effect.
My favorite Track on "How Mama Got Her Groove Back", was the Track 4 "Sell My Soul", a beautiful Blues Rock Ballad that dragged me way back to the early 70's. This was one of the Tracks where Ysabel Gagnon seems to be harmonizing with herself. With all the styles Ysabel seems so good at, I believe that this one is her forte.
From start to finish, "How Mama Got Her Groove Back", had all the right chemistry which made for a thoroughly enjoyable listen and should not only garner Canadian appeal, but International appeal as well.
"How Mama Got Her Groove Back" was, for me, much better than I would of expected for a Debut album and more than deserves my highest rating of 5*****. It is an album that really has gotten me excited for, their sophomore release.
In addition to a mighty fine album, I must also compliment Mama Groove for their superbly professional internet presence. I have seen both the horrible and the great when it comes to artists promoting themselves online, and Mama Groove are certainly on the great side.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)