No Hard Feelings?

Never Felt No Blues
B.J. Sharp (Critique Records)

By Beth Jones

Those of you looking for a recorded version of B.J. Sharp's raucous, oftentimes plain ol' raunchy live shows may be disappointed in Never Felt No Blues, her first release. But then, you already know that most of that stuff could never make it onto the airwaves, anyway. And I think it's safe to assume that Sharp and the crew hope to get some air-time with this one.

The first few songs had me disappointingly convinced that Sharp's characteristic grit and growl had been irredeemably over-sanitized. "Keep On Cookin'" never quite follows through on it's funky opening. More's the pity. "Salt in My Wounds" is a strong, gritty ballad, although it's the only one of the several on this release that seems to work. But halfway through the twelve cuts comes "Top of My Game". I ask you: how could any girl resist a line like, "If you can't take the load, don't be backin' your truck up to the dock"? And when Sharp talks about being "Tied Up, Tied Down," it seems she means it more literally than most. When you hear her singing about the handcuffs in the closet that "you're not using...on me," that's got to be enough to give anybody the blues.

It suddenly seems obvious. What doesn't work is B.J. Sharp doing "poor pitiful me" blues. But give her some "I'm gonna get you, sucka!" material, and it's another story altogether - not altogether surprising to anyone who knows her style.

Find out more at bjsharp.com or CritiqueRecords.com.