Thursday, October 20, 2011

CD Review: “Just As I Am’ by Sandy Carroll


                                                   Just As I Am

Jim Gaines has got a lot more going for himself than a bunch of Grammy’s for his engineering and production. He even has a lot more going on than a career spent shaping the sound of legends like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Buddy Guy, Santana, George Throughgood, Herbie Hancock, The Blues Travelers and Huey Lewis.

Maybe his biggest accomplishment was landing Sandy Carroll for a wife. And proving you can mix (pun intended) business with pleasure he produced this fine album of contemporary blues, mostly penned by his wife, and featuring her deep soulful southern kissed voice along with a virtual who’s-who of first call  musicians.

By the way, if the title of the album, Just As I Am sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because the tune was made popular by the late, great Luther Allison and written by Carroll, Luther Allison and James Solberg. Carroll had a long professional relationship with Allison (and many more huge blues stars such as Albert King and Reba Russell) during her time as a preeminent contemporary blues song writer. The tune closes out the album and is a touching, tender blues ballad given here a pinch of Louisiana country flavor.


But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, the album is packed with great tunes. From the opening “Blessed Be” which, as the title might confer, is marinated in a Gospel feeling, complete with harmonies that are choir like in a song Carroll says is “a song of gratitude. Even with the blues, there is always something to be thankful for.” Track two, “Help Mother Nature” at first has this same feeling with a pinch of Cajun country tossed in the pot, but listen to the lyric.The music maybe similar, but the song is a comedic, tongue in cheek take on the aging process. Think of it as a love song for liposuction.

Track three, “Heart Fixin’ Man” is a straight ahead blues rocker with some nice organ work and one of my favorites. “Waitin’ for The Storm” is a slow, Chicago feeling blues, complete with a great guitar solo. It’s a relationship song, where you can just feel one of you are just about to rain all over the other. It’s another that’s going to get a lot of air play. “Romeo and Juliet” is a retro feeling tune about young love and has a flavor that will appeal to the FM disc jockeys.

“Running Out Of Grace” is a funky, R&B influenced rocker and “Slow Kisses” is a fun little piano teaser that almost feels like a Randy Newman tune. Then we slide into one of the funkiest tunes on the album, “Messin With Me” which has great up tempo dance beat and some nice guitar, soaked in tasteful effects.

“Baby Comin’ Home” is the last track before the wrap on the title tune. It’s got a kind of zydeco/country feel in this tune about the prodigal girl friend returning after sowing a few wild oats.

All in all, a fun disc showcasing Sandy Carroll’s song writing, bluesy pipes and touch on the piano. throw this in the middle of your mix and have a little fun.


The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved


  1. Thank you for listening and writing such nice things about the music!


  2. You are very welcome, Sandy. Thanks for making it.

  3. Sounds like a perfect stocking stuffer to me! Can't wait to listen to the whole cd. Way to go Sandy!!

  4. Kelly, it's more than that, real nice album.