Fight The Good Fight
Blue Heart Records
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © 2022
Fight The Good Fight is the ninth release for Vaneese Thomas and it’s the third consecutive one that we here at Mary4Music have had the pleasure to work with. The album contains twelve new tracks of all original music written and co-written by Vaneese and as the title might indicate, she will have a lot to say about what the heck is going on in this crazy and confused world we live in.
For this project, the nearly two dozen special guests that join Vaneese – on lead and background vocals, piano and electric keyboards are: husband, co-producer, and multi-instrumentalist Wayne Warnecke on drums, bass, guitars, organ and percussion; Shawn Pelton on drums and percussion; Will Lee and Paul Adamy on bass; Paul Guzzone on bass, acoustic guitar and background vocals; Al Arlo on electric guitar, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Tash Neal and Scott Sharrard on electric guitar; Jon Cobert on organ; Joe Mennonna on accordion; Peter Calo on banjo; Katie Jacoby on violin; Marc Franklin on trumpet; Kirk Smothers on Baritone sax; Lannie McMillan on tenor sax; Corrin Huddleston on harmonica; Justin Schipper on pedal steel guitar; Bashiri Johnson on percussion; and James D-Train Williams, Lisa Fischer, Emily Bindiger and Kati Mac on background vocals.
The disc opens with “Raise The Alarm”, a track that delivers one of Vaneese’s stronger messages:
“Hey everybody listen, I’ve got a cautionary tale. There’s chaos all around us, can you hear the people wail?
Don’t ignore the warning, there’s a struggle going on…
Wake up my sisters and brothers, there’s a circuit overload. Raise the Alarm, there’s trouble, we’re in the middle of a stormy gale.
We’ve got no time for waiting, ’cause the levee’s about to fail…”
As consuming as these and the rest of the lyrics are, there is some great music going on that should be complimented. With Wayne on drums, bass and percussion he’s certainly not a one man rhythm section, and that’s because of fabulous keyboards from Vaneese and the horns of Marc and Lannie adding lots of support. Vocally, the lady who needs absolutely no support is getting some anyhow; Emily and Kati are fabulous backing up the powerful Vaneese.
“I’m Moving On” is a smoker that will have everyone hearing it moving as well. It features dance floor filling rhythm from Paul and Wayne on the bass and drums; dueling guitars between Al on lead and Scott on slide; and in addition to her killer keyboard work, Vaneese showcasing lots of sass and vocal range on what may be one of her best vocal tracks on the disc.
This one is titled “When I’ve Had A Few” and it’s a tale about one of the earliest therapists and the very first truth serum. In actuality, it’s a story about a bartender and the elixir he serves that allows people to open up to him like he’s a priest hearing their confession. The musical “quartet” on this one consists of outstanding steel pedal guitar by Justin – and everything else by Wayne.
Thank you, Vaneese. How refreshing to hear a song about a man who isn’t a liar, a cheater, a drunk, a gambler, an abuser, or a combination of several of those. For a change, Vaneese is telling us about man who brings her joy on a daily basis; a man who is the hero of her story; a man who fights to keep them together; a man who is worthy of her devotion; and so much more. As she tells it, “He’s A Winner”, he’s number one, he’s a champion, he’s paradise… and he’s hers! Obviously the man she is talking about is Wayne Warnecke, who is very lucky to have a wife who recognizes all that. That said, it’s good that she didn’t get into praising his musical abilities because that’s a whole other lengthy story.
Interestingly, the title track doesn’t have quite the revolutionary vibe I thought it might. Although it addresses never giving up and breaking down the walls, “Fight the Good Fight” sounds more like some of its predecessors from the sixties – it’s a laid back peace song for the 2020’s. Vaneese’s heavenly voice – along with that of the angelic background singers – combined with Katie’s soothing violin and Paul’s relaxed touch on the acoustic guitar, all work together to create the track’s magic.
The disc closes with “Lost In The Wilderness”, and it’s got so much going on I’m not even going to attempt to break it down. Just like you’re supposed to do in church – because it’s taking you there – pay attention to the lyrics like you’re being read the Gospel, Listen to the voices like it’s the Lord talking, and pay attention to music like it’s an instrumental hymn… because it is!
Other excellent songs on Fight The Good Fight include: “Same Blood Same Bone”; “Rosalee”; “Time To Go Home”; “Bad Man”; “Blue”; and “‘Till I See You Again”.
To find out more about Vaneese Thomas and her newest release – Fight The Good Fight, just go to www.vaneesethomas.com. Remember, wherever you go and whoever you contact, please let them know the Blewzzman sent you.
The Blues Is My Passion And Therapy”
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
P. O. Box 9346
Coral Springs, FL 33075-9346
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 “Keeping The Blues Alive” Award Recipient