PressWhat A Wonderful World - Jean Shy & The Shy Guys
This world renowned Song made famous by Louis Armstrong was recorded by Jean Shy & The Shy Guys in a unique pop-reggae style in 1996. It was added to the Germany release of the Jean Shy CD "Ready For Love," as one of the Bonus Tracks on the 3rd. Edition of the Album. Now re-mastered, the Track will be digitally released on January 24.2012.
The Song is released now to give people all over the World a message that is very much needed especially in today’s time. With so much hardship going on everywhere, and so many struggles many people are going through, it is easy to forget that in fact "It’s A Wonderful World."
This is a New Year, a new Start, and a new Chance for everyone. It is always important to stay positive, full of love, focused, and determined to reach our goals. In order to not let life get us down, we must count our blessings, and have gratitude for "what we do have." It will make our every day journey of achieving our goals and life’s dreams much easier and smoother, because in fact it could always be worse than it is, therefore we must remember after all "It’s A Wonderful World."
Label: King Edward Music
Catalog Nr. 77717
UPC Code: 881887771722
7 Page Feature in Living Blues Magazine - April 2011
7 Page Feature Story about Jean Shy in the "Living Blues Magazine" Issue April 2011.
"Blow Top Blues" CD Review by Living Blues Magazine
Jean Shy is one of the most versatile vocalists on the planet. On her previous album, 2008’s magnificent The Blues Got Soul, the veteran Chicago-born singer delved into a mix of soul, blues, rock, and gospel, all delivered with power and passion, with backing from her tight German band, the Shy Guys. Shy’s newly issued 13th CD, Blow Top Blues, presents her in more of a jazz-oriented mode, although there’s still some soul, rock, and straight urban blues among the 15 tracks. The booklet credits are not entirely clear, but at least some of the selections appeared on earlier releases and were recorded between 1993 and 2003 with three different bands: the Shy Guys, Poland’s Jazz Band Ball Orchestra (JBBO), and one billed as the Real Climax Band Cologne (not to be confused with England’s Climax Blues Band). Several others, including the autobiographical rocker Livin’ The Blues, feature synthesizers and drum machines.
The title track and Evil Gal Blues were early Dinah Washington hits, both written by renowned jazz critic Leonard Feather. Shy sings them with sass, backed by the Climax band. Blow Top Blues is treated to a medium tempo swing groove and features the commanding guitar work of Guenter Allmer. Evil Gal Blues is rendered as a hard-driving shuffle, with solos by high-note trumpeter Martin Reuthner and two-fisted pianist Uli Stollenwerk. Another blues with Climax, the classic The Night Time Is The Right Time, is given a shuffle arrangement at a much faster clip than Nappy Brown and Ray Charles had taken it years earlier. JBBO leads Shy down an even more straight-ahead jazz path on three of her own compositions, of which Maze (I Just Wanna Escape) is especially outstanding. And, with the Shy Guys, she nicely swings Fred McDowell’s You Got To Move.
Shy can really belt the blues, but she also has a tender side on which her breathy tones at times suggest an Esther Phillips influence. Among the disc’s strongest ballad performances are the standard Willow Weep For Me, Sam Dees’ Love All The Hurt Away, and a sweet, heartfelt version of Where Have All The Flowers Gone? She and Climax give Pete Seeger’s anti-war anthem a For Your Precious Love–like triplet arrangement, with Shy singing the lyrics entirely in German as Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind, a translation by Max Colpert that was originally performed by Marlene Dietrich.
"Blow Top Blues" CD Review by Blues411.com - 5/19/2011
If you like your Blues with a serious twist of Jazz, and a dash of Soul, and a steady back fill of funk and gospel then Ms. Jean Shy should be on your list of artists. A sensation in Europe, where the press has bathed her in superlatives – we can see their reasoning in this generous fifteen cut release.
Setting the stage with title track ‘Blow Top Blues’ Ms. Shy lets us know the bad news that this morning she discovered that her wig was about to blow. Yes-siree, and she goes on to describe this more than common situation in a jazzy strut that we shake our heads in syncopation to the tune and ride the waves of horns and snappy guitar work.
A smokey, sultry version of ‘Willow Weep For Me’ recalls the halcyon days of my old neighborhood, Harlem, and it’s clubs, patrons and fantastic female vocalists. She follows that song with an upbeat treatment of ‘The Night Time Is The Right Time’ where the guitar playing is allowed to overtake the horns for a fine solo before retreating to it’s proper position as part of the band.
To me, the standout cut is ‘Wouldn’t Wanna Be You’, a stunning sounding song who’s message is dark and foreboding for the fly about to enter into the spider’s web. I had the hardest time getting this song out of my head, with it’s sparse but effective percussion and flanged guitar work in tandem with a serious infectious almost reggae beat. Killah !
A very satisfying release by Ms. Shy, I think this style of Blues would serve well as a way to get more people into our tent. Not overly guitar’d, thoughtful music that plays easy on the ears but is packed with the force and snap of a good left jab just before the other fighter falls to the canvas – it is a winner and should be back to move up in class and the next level.
"Blow Top Blues" CD Review by Dee Dee McNeil - lajazz.com
Jean Shy & Friends: "Blow Top Blues" (King Edward Music #77712) (Jan 30, 2011, 9:33 PM PST)
Jean Shy conjures up memories of the great Dinah Washington, with similar timbre and excellence of delivery. She is powerful, singing the title tune, Leonard Feather's blues composition "Blow Top Blues," ably backed by her German band. The horn section is dynamic and the group sounds more like a big band than a small jazz ensemble. The harmonics and punchy horn section superbly support Shy's vocal delivery.
"Party on the Weekend" is an original composition that Shy co-wrote. It dances its way into the room as an up-tempo, celebratory song. This composition is punctuated by Jean's ability to swing her danceable blues in her own unique way. "Willow Weep for Me" gives us a taste of Shy's sincerity and prowess as an interpreter of song, both gutsy and heartfelt. The guitar solo on this number is outstanding and the 'live' audience shows great appreciation for same. It's too bad the record company didn't list the musicians playing on this disc because they are definitely the crème de la crème. Most of this project was recorded in a variety of European 'live' settings, using various bands. No matter the space or the place, Shy holds the music down with solid talent. She stomps her foot on the Blues and splashes it generously all over the listener. This is quite evident on "The Night Time Is the Right Time".
"Maze" (another original composition by Shy, E. Walker Kay and K. Walker) is a little different, leaning much more towards jazz than blues. No matter. This lady handles the jazzy song with the same honest interpretation, perfect elocution and electrifying power that she uses to sing her blues. I enjoyed the trumpet solo on this tune. At times Shy sounds a lot like Esther Phillips, both in the way she phrases and the vibrato in her voice. But there's no question, she is definitely her own person, mastering her own unique style. "Evil Gal Blues" shuffles along, galloping to the forefront and making every swing dancer in earshot want to get up and grab a partner. There's a honky-tonk pianist on this cut who plays joyfully.
Anybody who's looking for a new expression in the business of blues is going to be enamored with this down-home chanteuse. "Wouldn't Want To Be You" reminds me of the great Johnny Taylor. It utilizes that kind of production, using the organ and guitar to solidly lock down the groove. Male background voices shadow the 'hook' and reinforce Shy's powerful rendition of this song. She's a storyteller and on "The Other Side of Blue" she gives us a taste of how she might handle singing country/western music, although the arrangement is surprisingly jazzy. The song, "Livin' the Blues," has that pumped up quality that Ike and Tina Turner made so popular in the 1970s. Even the German song "Sag Mir Wu Die Blumen Sind" sounds good when Shy sings it, despite the fact I don't understand the language. I have to say Jean Shy's vocals are the thread that passes through a musical needle and sews all of these various groups and styles together into a perfect 'Blues' fabric.
"The Blues Got Soul" CD Review in Living Blues Magazine - Issue April 2010 -
Chicago soul singer Jean Shy has been recording since the late 1960s for such labels as Starville, Checker, Dakar, Foxcar, Honey, Fantasy, Playboy, Polydor, and R.S.O., and since 1983 for King Edward Records, a company originally based in Duiosburg, Germany, but now located in Hollywood. She has garnered little attention for her efforts, at least here in the United States, and even Robert Pruter’s otherwise impressive 1991 book Chicago Soul makes no mention of her. Such inattention is a crime that should be rectified by her current CD, which shows her to be one of the most awesome soul, blues, rock, and gospel singers performing today.
Shy, who divides her time between Germany and Southern California, possesses big, remarkably elastic contralto pipes that she applies with consummate passion on The Blues Got Soul to a diverse set of oldies that includes Ray Charles’ "Unchain Mys Heart," Donny Hathaway’s "A Song For You," Aretha Franklin’s "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)," Muddy Water’s "Rock Me," Bob Seger’s "Old Time Rock’n Roll," and the church songs "Precious Memories" and "Amazing Grace," as well as several original compositions, both secular and spiritual. Her moans and guttural asides bring Mavis Staples to mind.
Nine of the dozen tracks were recorded live at an Open Air Festival in Duisburg, the remaining three at studios in Duisburg and Frankfurt. The Shy Guys, an exceptional band of German musicians that features the torrid guitar work of Klaus Zimmermann, and Martin Hoette, the tightly locking bass and drums of Peter Bruemmer and Bernhard Spiess, and the blistening tenor saxophone of Bernd Winterschladen, match the intensity of Shy’s vocals blow by blow. And Georg Mahr’s Hammond B-3 organ gives an ideally sanctified flavor to three of the gospel numbers.
"The Blues Got Soul" CD Review in Blues Blast Magazine 09/04/09
Jean Shy & The Shy Guys - The Blues Got Soul
King Edward Records
12 songs; 68:09 minutes; Suggested
Style: Female Vocals; Blues-Rock; Rock and Roll; Soul-Blues; R&B; Gospel
Finding gold for the 1850s miners in California usually required a lot of hard work. Sometimes, though, all they had to do was bend over and pick up a nugget lying right at their feet. Similarly, finding a review-worthy CD usually requires some digging amongst those available. This time, however, Jean Shy & The Shy Guys was right there at my fingertips, literally handed to me.
While not really a "Blues" album, this vocals-and-band showcase is pure gold in terms of quality. When it comes to Jean Shy, it is another one of those "where-have-I-been?" moments. I am just a Johnny-come-lately to the incredible singing of this Chicago born now Germany living lady, signed by Chess Records at age 12. It was her nomination for a 2009 Blues Music Award for Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year that first caught my attention. Jean Shy is an internationally acclaimed Rhythm & Blues/Rock, Jazz, Blues, and Gospel singer, songwriter, music producer, and actress.
"The Blues Got Soul" is a compilation of some of the hottest material recorded by Jean Shy and her highly competent German band "The Shy Guys," which was partially performed live at an open air concert in Duisburg, Germany. It consists of original compositions and surprising covers (Bob Seger, Leon Russell, Reba McEntire) performed, mostly, in their own rocking, upbeat arrangements and unique style.
The sound is not like most "Live" CDs because the recordings originally were not made for a CD release. There were no microphones set up in the audience, and the crowd is hardly audible. On those live tracks, Jean decided against any studio editing in order to keep the pure and powerful sound. Re-Mastering of all songs by "Big Bottom" Bob Lanzner at Technovoice Mastering in Studio City CA evened everything for this CD presentation. The result is a powerful set that will make one wish he had been there for the original.
With no typical, "Give it up for Jean Shy" Live introduction to the stage, track one’s instantly satisfying opening is a shimmering guitar beside a pulsing bass and organ. At twelve seconds, Jean hits us with her impressive voice chiding "I Wouldn’t Wanna Be You," a song recorded by Reba and written by Jeff Silbar and Randy Sharp. Klaus Zimmermann and Martin Hoette both take guitar solos to maintain the charge until Bernd Winterschladen briefly eases the tempo with a saxophone solo at the bridge. Jean picks it back up, and by the end, golden-nugget thoughts are beginning.
Song two seals the deal when Jean and the band launch into a funk laden, up tempo rendition of the Ray Charles and Joe Cocker classic "Unchain My Heart." This has been a much requested number at Jean Shy concerts over the years.
Keeping the fun and surprises coming, for track three, Jean dusts off a Leon Russell classic, "Song For You." Maintaining the original tempo, Shy and her band light up this old favorite with her emotional and powerful vocals accentuated by soaring guitar accompaniment and Frieso Luecht’s piano opening and cascading passages.
Snatching fans from their seats and back to their feet, "Livin' The Blues" is the Rock and Roll type of song that has become trademarks of Shy’s live shows. There is also a near 11 minute rocking version of Muddy Waters’ "Rock Me," 10 minutes of Bob Seger’s "Old Time Rock'n Roll," and a heart-pounding Shy original "We Like the Same Thangs."
"One Day (Blues Version)" is a song that talks about the search for peace, love, and understanding that Shy wrote after seeing many homeless people living in cardboard boxes on downtown streets in Los Angeles.
For fans of Gospel and welling organ, there's Shy’s "I Can’t Save You (From Yourself)," the traditional "Precious Memories," and the closing "Amazing Grace" which is performed in a celebrated fashion.
This CD may not appeal to Blues purists, but what a mistake it would be not to scoop up the wealth of talent laid out before us by Jean Shy and the Shy Guys.
Read More"The Blues Got Soul" CD Review by Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
I'm sure that being nominated for a Blues Music Award in 2009 in the "Soul Blues Female Artist Of the Year" category was quite an exciting achievement for Jean Shy. However, when you're someone who at the age of twelve was signed to Chess Records and you're enjoying a career that involves being an acclaimed R&B, Jazz, Rock, Soul, Gospel and Blues Singer, an Accomplished Songwriter, a Music Producer, and an Actress as well, exciting achievements are quite commonplace.
"The Blues Got Soul" is Jean Shy's latest of many releases that crisscross several genres. On this project - which was mostly recorded live at the "Open Air Festival" in Duisburg, Germany - Jean, on vocals, is joined by: Klaus Zimmerman and Martin Hoette on Guitars; Frieso Luecht, Sascha Kuehn and Volker Wendland on Keyboards; Bernhard Spiess and Hendrik Smock on Drums; Peter Bruemmer and Michael "Schnuff" Strohm on Bass; Bernd Winterschladen on saxophone; George Mahr on B3 Hammond Organ: and, along with Michael and Jean, Ruth Bongartz on Background Vocals.
The opening track, "I Wouldn't Wanna Be You", is - in every sense of the word - powerful. Jean is amazingly strong on the vocals and yet, I got the feeling she wasn't even reaching all that deep just yet. Reinforced by a potent rhythm section and solid guitar leads made this one of the disc highlights.
"Unchain My Heart" seems to have unchained the bass player. On this very funky number, Peter is certainly at disc's - and possibly even career - best. Of course when there's funk involved, fierce sax riffs can't be far behind, and Bernd does get his share in. Vocally, this had to be one of the songs responsible for that BMA nomination.
It's this writers opinion that one of the most beautiful songs ever written is "Song For You", by Leon Russell. It's also this writers opinion that this was an absolutely splendid version of that song. Jean, Frieso and Bernd were flawless on vocals, piano and sax.
"One Day" is one of several Jean Shy originals and ya didn't need to read that to know it. Staying close to her Gospel roots, you can always count on hearing some spirituality coming from this lady -and this is one of a few. Great lyrics, vocals, background vocals and organ highlight this one.
One listen to this track will leave you with "Precious Memories" of what Jean Shy is all about. Yeah she can boogie, yeah she can rock and yeah she can jazz it up, but these slow and soulful ballads are her signature, and they're the main reason for people saying she has a "Golden Throat".
Eleven minute tracks usually feature everyone in the band getting in some highlights, and they all do on this version of Muddy's "Rock Me". However, the mesmeric guitar playing runs away with this one. Klauss and Martin were beyond amazing. Great stuff right here.
Other tracks on "The Blues Got Soul" are: "Livin' The Blues", "Never Loved A Man", "I Can't Save You (From Yourself)", "We Like The Same Thangs", "Old Time Rock 'n Roll" and "Amazing Grace".
Check out Jean Shy & The Shy Guys - who by the way, didn't sound all that shy to me - by going to www.jeanshy.com. Once there, you know the drill - buy something and tell them the Blewzzman sent ya.
Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro (c) June 2009
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
Contributing writer for www.Blueswax.com