Joanna Dean – Misbehavin’ (1988)

JoannaDean_14.5 out of 5 Stars!

I’ve always been a sucker for a female singer with a raspy, whiskey-soaked voice. Of course, Janis Joplin was the prime example of this in-your-face vocal style, but few, if any, female rock vocalist could match the power of Ms. Joplin.

Then I saw a video for the song “Kiss This” and just about had a heart attack! Not only did the singer have a killer voice, but a raspy one as well…one that also seemed to hit multiple notes at the same time, ala Ms. Joplin. Needless to say, I eagerly welcomed Joanna Dean’s one and only album (as a solo artist) into my collection.

Without a doubt, she is the closest thing to a Janis Joplin-type of singer I have ever discovered. Her musical style is also laced with the blues, but with a heavy, no-frills, rock and roll approach. (Kinda like a female-led version of a band like Cinderella or Aerosmith.) Not only does this album include the driving single “Kiss This,” but the highlight of the album has got to be Joanna’s cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” When she goes for those high notes, her raspy voice making the notes almost sizzle with simultaneous harmonics, you can almost imagine Janis Joplin smiling down on her from rock ‘n’ roll heaven, giving Joanna a big “thumbs up.”

If you like your rock and roll straight forward and stomping, if you like female singers who can belt out a tune with a gut-wrenching vocal delivery, you won’t find much better than this album…an undiscovered gem. Dean deserved worldwide fame and legendary status, but, sadly, she never got it.

NOTE: Don’t miss Code Of Honor by the band Bad Romance, which also features Joanna on lead vocals. She recorded that band’s lone album several years after this solo release. Since it’s an identical style of music, I basically consider it her second solo album.

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Bad Romance – Code Of Honor (1991)

BadRomance_CodeHonor4.5 out of 5 Stars!

Joanna Dean on lead vocals!!! This woman KICKS MAJOR BUTT! I love her to death, and this album (although not the most spectacular overall) is certainly kickin’ butt along the lines of Cinderella-inspired, Nazareth-inspired, Humble Pie-inspired, or Janis Joplin-inspired hard rock!

Indeed, on this album, Joanna actually does a whiskey-soaked duet with Tom Keifer (Cinderella) on a remake of the Nazareth-classic “Love Hurts.” So the comparisons I mentioned are in full force. From the opening two tracks alone (“Up and Coming” and “In The House of my Father”) the Humble Pie comparisons, and nods to the other bands already mentioned, are in abundance, and the album just keeps kicking butt all the way through, with Joanna’s vocals reigning supreme.

I wish to God Joanna had found another vehicle to showcase her enormous talents and didn’t fade into oblivion. I can’t believe this is so generally underrated, considering Joanna’s overall blistering performance.

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