A Woman Rules The World
Little Village Foundation
As a child Whitney Shay witnessed a Shakespearean play, and she has been performing ever since. In 2009 she began fronting a band and singing blues, jazz and swing. In 2012 Shay released her debut recording “Soul Tonic”. In 2015 she recorded an album with Erich Benedict and Jeff Brown called “Music for Spies and Lovers”. She performed 200 dates a year and began to be noticed as an up and coming blues artist. She won the San Diego Music Award for Best Blues singer in both 2017 and 2018. She has played major concert events like The Doheny Blues Festival, The San Diego Blues Festival, and The Gator by The Bay.
It’s uncertain whether Shay was first heard by Executive Producer Jim Pugh or by Producer Kid Andersen, but the proof that she can really sing, is inside this recording. The band includes Shay, vocals; Producer Andersen, guitar, bass, sitar and Wurlitzer; Pugh, organ and piano; Kedar Roy, upright and electric bass; Alexander Pettersen, drums, and “Sax” Gordon Beadle, saxophones. Additional notes supplied by Igor Prado, guitar and vocals; Aki Kumar, harmonica; John Halbleib, trumpet; Derrick “D Mar” Martin, percussion, and Lisa Leuschner Andersen, background vocals. The album was recorded at Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose, California.
There are four originals co-written by Shay and her writing partner Adam J. Eros. Shay states this is just the beginning and thanks Eros “for helping me get over my fear and break into songwriting”. She continues “the album mirrors my journey, and this year it seems like a lot of things are coming to fruition with the women’s rights movement…I think it really resonates right now because people are sick of the status quo.” The horns open the title track, “Ain’t No Weak Woman”, and help to accentuate the emotions within Shay’s vocal. The other originals all about relationships are “Don’t You Fool Me No More” featuring Pugh on piano; the funky “Love’s Creeping Up on You”, a vocal duet with Prado; and the torch song “Empty Hand”.
“Blues Down Home” written by Lincoln Chase was the “B” side of a 1957 single sung by Dinah Washington with Eddie Chamblee And His Orchestra. Dinah and Eddie were married, he was her fifth husband, and for a wedding present Dinah gave Eddie a six hundred dollar saxophone. When they broke up “she picked up Eddie’s saxophone and smashed it to the floor”. This is another fine vocal performance by Shay. “A Woman Rules The World” composed by Denise LaSalle was a 1971 Galaxy Records single for Bill Coday. Andersen’s guitar opens Shay’s fabulous version also featuring a great horn arrangement.
“Get It When I Want It” is a funky George Jackson number originally recorded by Candi Staton in 1970 at The Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Staton, a soul legend, says Shay is “one heck of a singer, she really has heart”. Pugh plays piano while Shay sings this sexy tune.
“Check Me Out” written by Jimmy McCracklin was first released on a Bay area compilation in 2003. “Doin my own thing, check me out fellas”.
Two songs are from Little Richard. “Freedom Blues” was a 1970 single while the closer “Get Down With It” is from 1967. On the later the dynamic Shay channels the dynamic Richard.
The production really highlights Shay’s talents as she performs in a style that fits her like a glove. Shay is dressed for success and seemingly on the verge of a long and fabulous career.