The Deep End

Re-Hive

Strip

Wicked Time

Radio Queen

The Hard Way

Discography

THE DEEP END, Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez


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Deep Thoughts on The Deep End / October 2009


What a journey of the heart this record has been. I’ve experienced, since the release of my last studio album Strip, the loss of both a mate (Doc Cavalier, who’d been our producer) and a long-time guitarist and collaborator (Eric Fletcher). It’s been tough, and sitting down at the writing table wasn’t always easy. Rosanne Cash and I were talking, and she asked me if I’d written sad songs. It wasn’t until she asked me that I realized I hadn’t. Ultimately, this is an album about love and the courage to fall into it. The fact is, the loss just informs you; it opens emotional doors that couldn’t possibly have opened before, no matter how much you thought you knew about it. I wrote about love--the newness of it, the glory of it, the loss of it, the constancy of it, the sadness that can come from it, the wonder of it, the sweet bitterness of it, sometimes. It’s my favorite topic, and never have I felt it so deeply and been so deeply affected by it.


The songs came over a period of about 10 months, the last being “The Gone Of You,” co-written by Cliff Goodwin. It turned out to be, along with the title track (with wonderful guitar work by Big Al Anderson), the album’s signature. We’ve included it twice, in a full studio version and then in a genius demo track that Andy York, who produced the record and was its most stalwart contributor, fashioned from voodoo loops and dark guitar. I sang it one late-night-into-early morning, so we dubbed it “The Gone of You (After Hours).” Yet it’s “The Deep End,” with its theme of jumping off a cliff, that owns my heart.


If the writing of the songs had been a joy, the recording process proved to be a total kick, spearheaded by sessions with the core band: Cliff Goodwin (guitar), Larry Donahue (drums) and Michael Colbath (bass) of Rebel Montez joined by Andy York. Then from Andy’s home studio to Vic Steffens’ cool Connecticut-based Horizon Music Group to Levon Helm’s place in Woodstock to Station West in Nashville, Lily’s Terrace and New Calcutta in NYC, and Sounds Great in Boca Raton, the guests artists had tracks flying, on fire together.


Ian Hunter whipped off his sunglasses in the June heat at Andy’s and dug into “There Ain’t No Cure.” To my delight, he’d also written the lyrics to “The Deep End” on a yellow legal pad and offered to add his voice there, too. Marshall Crenshaw and I romped on one of my all-time favorite “lost” Motown classics, Marvin Gaye & Mary Wells’ “What’s The Matter With You Baby” over at Levon’s studio, the great man himself on drums, his shoulders famously hunched in that beautiful way of his. Dion and I conferred by phone and, with Cat Russell’s help, crafted our vocal tracks--he in Florida and I in Connecticut-- for “Cry Baby Cry,” a treasured southern soul gem out of my vinyl collection originally done by the unsung duo Van & Titus. Dion had loved the track as much as I did when I’d first sent it to him. The guitarists on this record are, truly, an “A-team --from Rebel Montez’s current (Cliff) and once (Eric, to whose memory the CD is dedicated, appearing with me in a radio air shot of Link Wray’s “Walkin’ Down The Street Called Love”--if ever a title fit the theme, this is it) -- to G.E. Smith, Big Al Anderson, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, Marshall Crenshaw, and Andy York. I am so deeply grateful to all the musicians whose hearts and souls are stamped on these tracks. They honor me with their presence.


It’s been a long and winding road, and in many respects I felt this was a journey I truly had to make by myself. That I’ve had great artists support me along the way has been a dream, and a gift. As I say in the liner notes, “There are so many who have stepped up with grace and love to help me get through these past years, to rejoice with me, to hold me while I cried, and to lift me up.” I have, indeed, been lifted, and now I look forward to sharing these songs with everyone. Let’s jump into the deep end.

Re-Hive

RE-HIVE, Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez


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Christine Ohlman on Re-Hive / October, 2008


I’ve always thought it a good idea to look back while you look ahead. The fans have their favorites on each of our four CDs, and I’ve got mine, but there’s so much other material, too—alternate takes, live cuts, unreleased tracks. It was fun choosing a few of those to sweeten the mix. The alternate version of “Circle ‘Round The Sun” was the biggest surprise to me. It’s such a kicker, and Eric Fletcher is just playing his heart out. We knew we had to include “Then God Created Woman,” and I thought, “Why not a live version?” So we found this great, lunge-at-it take from 2005 at Arlene Grocery, a well-loved Lower East Side NYC hang. “Charmaine” is classic late-eighties Rebel Montez, all edgy guitars, and I love the version of Percy Sledge’s “It Tears Me Up” from the time just before Larry Donahue joined us on drums, back when Michael, Eric and I were gigging around as a trio.


Of course Eric Fletcher’s death in 2006 was such a terrible shock. We had a sold-out concert on Memorial Day weekend and when he didn’t show, we knew something was very wrong. He was never even late for a gig. When the police called the venue that night to tell us they’d found him in bed, gone, there was a collective grieving, all of us together—the band and the audience—that still continues. These recordings are his legacy, as they are Doc Cavalier’s, our brilliant producer who was my mate of so many years. Doc left us in early 2005, and I mourn his loss every day. The four CDs we cut together were Doc’s babies as surely as they were mine. Re-Hive is dedicated to his memory. Our upcoming 2009 CD of new songs, The Deep End, will be dedicated to Eric’s. I feel I honor them both by creating, by writing, and by performing. It hasn’t been easy by any means. But friends and fellow musicians have been extraordinary in their generosity and support, and have lifted me up.


A joyous session in January of 2008 for movie soundtrack cuts yielded “Dimples” and “Killing Floor,” both of which feature the very great Cliff Goodwin on lead guitar; I’m delighted to include these tracks on Re-Hive. Cliff has been such a perfect addition to the band. He’s a guitar god, truly, and an inspiration on stage and in the studio. And that brings us up to the present…My thanks to the folks at HMG Records for their cool and ongoing support in making this CD possible. Hope you dig.


CD description:


HMG Records / HMG 1189 Release Date: November 18, 2008


Re-Hive, a retrospective of Christine Ohlman’s recordings with Rebel Montez (Larry Donahue - drums, Michael Colbath -bass, Eric Fletcher - lead guitar) pairs classic titles with bonus cuts, including alternate versions, previously unissued tracks (a bone-chilling, unplugged version of the Percy Sledge soul barnburner “It Tears Me Up,” for example, recorded in the early Nineties with the 3-piece incarnation of Rebel Montez often referred to as “The Amazing Drummer-less Trio”), and two brand-new studio recordings of Chess Chicago blues chestnuts that feature Cliff Goodwin on lead guitar (Goodwin, whose idea it was to title the disc “Re-Hive,” replaced Eric Fletcher following Fletcher’s untimely death in 2006).


Special guests include G.E. Smith (Bob Dylan/SNL/Hall & Oates); Charlie Giordano (Bruce Springsteen/E Street Band); Andy York (John Mellencamp); Brian Mitchell (Levon Helm, Rosanne Cash) and Leon Pendarvis (SNL).


Disc includes “The Hard Way,” featured on the Lifetime Channel’s original movie “Sex & Lies In Sin City.”


Critics rave:


“The first thing you notice is her tough, rousing, sexy voice” - Charles M. Young, Playboy


“Musical treasures like this don’t come along very often” - All Music Guide


“The Number-One Secret Weapon in America’s Gal-Singin’ Sweepstakes” - Stereo Review


“Wicked, wild, and wanton, full of heathen rock n’roll, crazed jungle voodoo, hillbilly hellfire, and sinful soul music. In a word, great” - Mark J. Cadigan, Syndicated


“Ohlman is out to rearrange your furniture” - Nine Volt


“Holy Shazaam!! The Beehive Queen meets Lucinda Williams and John Hiatt in a bar fight, and Christine wins!” - Jim Chapdelaine, Grammy and Emmy-winning producer


Track Listing:

1. Wicked Time

2. A Shot Of You

3. Dimples (prev. unreleased - January, 2008)

4. Sugar Melts

5. Turn

6. The Hard Way

7. When The Summer Goes (alternate version)

8. Bound

9. The Seventh Sons

10. Killing Floor (prev. unreleased - January, 2008)

11. Strip

12. Then God Created Woman (recorded live)

13. The Storm

14. Circle ‘Round The Sun (alternate version)

15. Edge Of The World

16. One More Thrill

17. Charmaine (prev. unreleased)

18. It Tears Me Up (prev. unreleased)

Strip

STRIP, Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez


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Strip - (HMG 1177) The Beehive Queen returned with a vengence in 2003 on TNA Records (re-released in 2009 on HMG) with a more swamped-up sound. The killer grooves are courtesy of the flash cats of Rebel Montez (Eric Fletcher-lead guitar; Michael Colbath - bass; Larry Donahue - drums. Strip was the swan-song legacy of Fletcher, "The Blond God," who would pass away in 2006.)


Also on board are special guests Shawn Pelton (Sheryl Crow/Saturday Night Live Band); Andy York (John Mellencamp/Ian Hunter); Brian Mitchell (Al Green/Irma Thomas), Amanda Just (The Rivergods) and gospel-tinged trio The Sin Sisters.


Ohlman’s songwriting kicked up a notch with tracks like the sexy bossa-nova title cut, swamp-pop classic “The Storm,” “Empty,” a bare-bones tale of despair spun inside a gorgeous guitar-laden track, and “Another Country,” a saga of terrifying love wrapped around a pile-driving groove.


Included too are her usual cast of carefully chosen covers: “I Am Bound For The Promised Land,” straight from the Bristol sessions of 1927; “Daddy Rollin’ (In Your Arms)” a B-side originally recorded by Dion, that Prince of the Bronx himself; “Highway 61,” the blues classic rewritten with lyrics dedicated to Ohlman’s late friend Cub Koda; and a slice of savage Brit Invasion pop “I Can Only Give You Everything,” a steamy duet she shares with Joe Hurley of NYC’s Irish punksters Rogues’ March.


Strip is marked by Ohlman’s attention to arrangement and lyrics underscored by Fletcher, Donahue, and Colbath’s passionate, tight musicianship. The overall feeling of barely contained, overwhelming emotion pegs this as their best recorded work so far.


"Husky voiced tough gals seldom get any more fiery than Christine Ohlman. Like a female Bruce Springsteen or Southside Johnny, she uses her encyclopedic knowledge of soul, blues and swaggering leader-of-the-pack 60s girl group pop to texture her mini-dramas that exude a distinct urban sensibility." --Hal Horowitz, The All-Music Guide


The Beehive Queen Shares Her Thoughts on Strip:


There’s always a point when the first song takes shape and you get the feeling. I was reading James Baldwin’s “Another Country” and was taken by a sense of how much courage it takes to fall in love, to give oneself over so completely to another person. It’s a little terrifying, crossing over that border. I took Baldwin’s title and the journey began.


The other songs followed and, in a way, they all share the quality of nakedness. “Strip”, the title cut, is a word with multiple layers of meaning - there’s emotional stripping and then there’s the clothing kind... I love the way that track turned out, Eric’s snaky guitar line and the dirty drums, bass, and loops. “Empty” is for my late mother, although it’s not necessarily about her. I don’t claim to be able to write about what’s inside another person’s head. “Bound” is a story of long-time love, that delicious feeling of having the strands of your life entwined with someone else’s, twisting and turning and never letting go. My emotions have always been greatly affected by the weather, and I love nothing more than a hot, humid, lightning-on-the-horizon night…that’s how “The Storm” began. I also went for that feeling of the swamp (and the sound, with as much Fender vibrato as we could muster up) on “Love and Tenderness.” “Jungle Twist” is just a rave-up, destined to be an East Coast dance craze. “A Mighty, Mighty Man” was written years ago during the raw emotion of the war in Lebanon, and resurfaced after the events of the past two years. And “Tough and Tender” is maybe the most naked of all - a stripped-down track that frames a lover’s plea.


Choosing the covers was another kind of journey. I dedicated the entire CD to my friend, mentor, and musical brother Cub Koda, who passed in 2000. Cub would have played on this record were he still around with us in the flesh instead of in spirit. I’ve never known a ghost to play guitar, but if it were possible, I’m sure Cub would’ve figured out a way. He was a big fan of Alfred Luandrew, Sunnyland Slim, so “Highway 61” has tribute lyrics that I wrote for him. It’s true that Cub’s hometown, Detroit, isn’t on Highway 61 in reality—but in his heart, it was. Alfred Karnes’ version of “I Am Bound For The Promised Land” was cut originally at the Bristol Sessions in 1927, at the same time The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers made their first recordings. “Daddy Rollin’ (In Your Arms)” is a Dion B-side that was written down in Florida with his cousin. He put in some Robert Johnson lyrics. That fascinates me. You couldn’t ask for two more unlikely partners than the Prince Of The Bronx and the King Of The Delta Blues—but here they are. And “I Can Only Give You Everything” is an original British Invasion tune that my producer, Doc Cavalier, had first recorded back in the sixties with a garage band from Connecticut. I thought it would be cool to update it.


The demo recordings and final studio takes were all handled by the stellar musicians in Rebel Montez-—Eric Fletcher, Michael Colbath, and Larry Donahue. Eric played lots of axes from his collection, including a nylon-string on “Strip,” and made them all sound fabulous. We call Mike “The Buddha Of The Bass” - his bass lines are so thoughtful; they carry weight. Larry went to school on Al Jackson, Jr.; he’s the rock and the foundation. Through multiple changes and reworkings of some of the songs, their constant creativity and flexibility amazed me. These guys are flash cats, and the real deal. Through all four of our records together, they have supported the songs and stories with fire and skill.


Two friends who worked on both The Hard Way and Wicked Time came on board. Shawn Pelton, my brother from The Saturday Night Live Band, called me with the idea of generating some organic loops that we could mix in with Larry’s kit. He particularly wanted to work on “Empty,” “Strip” and “Daddy Rollin’,” and I think he came up with stunning work on all three. Shawn is such a master of rhythm and nuance that I hope we will record together forever. Andy York, who just got through playing on an album of delta blues with John Mellencamp, channeled Blind Willie Johnson on “Daddy Rollin’,” seconding Eric’s powerful acoustic. Together, they played some pretty apocryphal stuff. That’s AY doing his best Pop Staples on “Love and Tenderness” and killing with his acoustic on “Empty” and “Tough and Tender.”


Also joining us were Brian Mitchell, who brought the great New Orleans keyboard chops and fine-tuned sense of swing that have fueled records by Irma Thomas, Al Green, and Rosanne Cash to bear on “Another Country,” “The Storm,” “I Can Only Give You Everything,” and “Jungle Twist”; Amanda Just, whose soulful viola graces “Empty” and “Highway 61”; The Sin Sisters, who worked out with me in the vocal booth on “The Storm”; and my wild, beautiful friend Joe Hurley, who brought his whiskey-soaked voice and renegade attitude to our duet on “I Can Only Give You Everything.” All the performances are deeply emotional and real, and I’m forever grateful.


Finally, a word about the man behind the board - Doc Cavalier. Doc is just simply a great producer, with wide-open ears and a head for hits. He’s always looking for the hook, the sting, the edge... When he goes into the control room to mix, you know he’s out for blood and nothing else. He gets a sound on drums and bass that allows the whole track to ride on a big cushion, a big vibe. His treatment of guitars (and there are a LOT of ‘em on this record) is peerless. Check out the way he weaves them in and out on tracks like “Empty,” “Love and Tenderness” and “Daddy Rollin’ (In Your Arms).” I consider it a privilege to have had his knowledge and heart in my corner every step of the way.

WICKED TIME, Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez (HMG 1176)


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2000 saw the release of brand-new tunes on J-Bird Records, with favorites “Ring Of Flame;” “When I Work My Thing On You;” “Turn;” that good-love-gone-bad anthem that continues to tear it up on live dates, a barn-burning cover of Ike & Tina Turner’s “I Idolize You;” and the goin’-to-New-Orleans title cut. Re-released on HMG Records in 2009.


”‘When I Work My Thang’ is Johnny Otis singing a swamp theme to a movie Burt Reynolds wished he’d made” - Andrew Loog Oldham


RADIO QUEEN, Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez


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Radio Queen - (HMG 1178) This 1997 live outing, originally released on J-Bird Records, was captured during a raging blizzard and in front of an equally raging audience. Here’s where you’ll find the only recorded version of “Not Fade Away,” a staple of any Rebel Montez show, and early live versions of “Turn” and “When The Summer Goes,” later to appear on Wicked Time.


“Live is where Christine and her group make their living, and it’s where they really stand out. And I mean they stand out the way her white beehive ‘do’ does.” - Fran Fried, New Haven Register


THE HARD WAY, Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez (HMG 1175)


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Originally released in 1995 on Deluge Records, Christine’s first recorded outing with Rebel Montez laid down the Beehive gauntlet with classics like “A Shot Of You,” “Then God Created Woman,” “Sugar Melts,” and “The Seventh Sons.” The title track got some major movie action in 2008’s “Sex & Lies In Sin City” starring Matthew Modine and Mina Suvari.


"The first thing you notice is her tough, rousing, sexy voice" - Charles M. Young/Playboy


Christine Ohlman Discography


Leader, Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez (with Cliff Goodwin - guitars, Eric Fletcher - guitars, Michael Colbath - bass, Larry Donahue - drums/percussion)


Live Hive (DVD) - 2011 - HMG Records (HMG 2027) Live concert DVD with special guests Andy York and The Sin Sisters. Recorded January, 2011; contains two previously unissued new songs.


The Deep End - 2010 - HMG Records (HMG 2009) with special guests Ian Hunter, Dion DiMucci, Levon Helm, Marshall Crenshaw, GE Smith, Big Al Anderson, Andy York, Catherine Russell, and Eric Ambel)


Re-Hive - 2008- HMG Records (HMG 1189) - Career Retrospective including unreleased cuts, alternate takes and bonus tracks


Strip - 2003 - HMG Records (HMG 1177) (Formerly TNA 70113)


Wicked Time - 1999 - HMG Records (HMG 1176) (Formerly J-Bird 80287)


Radio Queen - 1997 - HMG Records (HMG 1178) (Formerly J-Bird 80147)


The Hard Way - 1995 - HMG Records (HMG 1175 ) (formerly Deluge 3011)


Founding Member of the Scratch Band (with G.E. Smith, Paul Ossola, Robert Orsi, Vic Steffens, Mickey Curry)


LP: The Scratch Band - Big Sound USA / Decca worldwide


LP: Rescue - Big Sound USA


LP: Bionic Gold - USA / Big Sound For A Small Planet (UK)


Leader, Christine Ohlman & The Soul Rockers 1982-1985


Vocalist, The Saturday Night Live Band (1991 - to present / studio pre-recording & live performances)


CD: G.E. Smith & SNL Band - Liberty Records / Get A Little


Member & contributing songwriter The Generic Blondes (with Taylor Barton, G.E. Smith, Andy York, Paul Ossola, Shawn Pelton)


Other recordings:


Billy J. Kramer - I Won The Fight (2013) - Christine and Billy duet on the Grammy-winning country classic “Fallin’ And Flyin’”


Ian Hunter - When I'm President (vocals) - The Slimstyle Recording Company/2012


A Heaping Helping: Songs For The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama - Digital Download only Christine’s song “The Storm” from the CD “Strip” appears along with cuts by Shelby Lynne, The Oak Ridge Boys, Paul Thorn, Spooner Oldham, Will Kimbrough, others (18 cuts in all) - Lucky Dog Records/2012


The Andrew Oldham Orchestra and Friends Play the Rolling Stones Songbook Vol. 2 (2013): Historic second volume of series begun in 1969. With Al Kooper & others.


All Kinds Of Highs: A Mainstream Pop-Psych Compendium 1966-70 (import) Compilation of 60s releases on Mainstream Records. Includes the B-side of the only release on Mainstream by The Wrongh Black Bag, “I Don’t Know Why”. Christine was the lead singer of the band. The A-side of the 45 was a cover of The Blues Project’s “Wake Me Shake Me”) - Ace Records UK/2012


Get You A Healin' (Digital Download only; 2010)- 10th Anniversary Reissue to benefit the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic. "The Cradle Did Rock" from The Deep End is included alongside tracks by BB King, The Subdudes, Richard Thompson, Irma Thomas, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint and others


Down On The Bayou (digital download; consult homepage for link)- 2010 Jazz Festival concert to benefit the New Orleans Musicians Clinic


Ian Hunter - Shrunken Head (vocals) - Yep Roc/2007


Big Al Anderson - Pawn Shop Guitars - 2007


Black 47 - New York Town - Gadfly 286/2004 Christine duets with Larry Kirwan on "Blood Wedding." Other guests include Rosanne Cash & David Johanssen.


Van Duren - Idiot Optimism - Lucky Seven 9218 (2003) Historic first issue of the 1977 Trod Nossel sessions, never released on vinyl


Charlie Musselwhite - One Night In America (Telarc CD - 83547) Guest vocalist along with Robben Ford, Marty Stuart, Kelly Willis (2002 Grammy Nominee).


A Tribute to Howlin' Wolf - (Telarc 83427) With Taj Mahal, Lucinda Williams, Ronnie Hawkins, James Cotton, Cub Koda & others (1998 Grammy Nominee).


Nick Lowe - Labour Of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe - (Telarc CD - 83538) (2001) Duet recording of "Cruel To Be Kind" with Marshall Crenshaw. Also includes tracks by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Elvis Costello and Dar Williams.


Exile On Blues Street - (Telarc 83571) (2003) Christine is backed by Double Trouble joining Tab Benoit, Lucky Peterson, Deborah Coleman and others on this tribute to the Stones' classic 1972 LP Exile On Main Street.


Eddie Kirkland - Where You Get Your Sugar - (Deluge 3012) Duet vocal "Our Love So Beautiful"


Eddie Kirkland - Lonely Street - (Telarc 83424) Duet vocals & acoustic guitar


Kenny Neal - Blues Fallin' Down Like Rain - (Telarc 83435)


The Songs Of Willie Dixon - (Telarc 83452) With Sonny Landreth, John Ellison, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown, Ronnie Earl & others.


Selected Concert Appearances:


2012 Rock n' Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Gala and Induction Concert/Cleveland, Ohio


2012 Carnegie Hall Tribute To The Rolling Stones


2011 Evenings of Duets w/Mac Rebannack to benefit New Orleans Musicians' Assistance Foundation


2011 / 2012 WC Handy Blues Festival Muscle Shoals, AL


Rochester International Jazz Festival, headliner


Lincoln Center "American Songbook" Series, headlining w/Sting, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed


2010-12 "Down On The Bayou I, II, III", New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival to benefit the New Orleans Musicians' Assistance Foundation, with Irma Thomas, Dr. John and others


2009 Obama Inaugural Gala, Washington, DC


2003 Year Of The Blues 60th year Tribute To Janis Joplin / Central Park Summerstage


Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert - Madison Square Garden


Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Awards


National Music Foundation / Billboard Magazine 100th Anniversary


Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary telecast

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