Wim R. : If you ask your average rocker, between forty and fifty years old, if he or she knows Karen Lynn Greening, chances are you will be confronted with surprised faces who will have to pass on the answer. But if you say Lee Aaron, that will put a loving smile on the faces of many, mostly, male rockers. Aaron had a very popular period in the eighties, especially with the male audience. This was due to her handsome looks and the title of Metal Queen (mainly forced upon her by record company Attic). The video for the song ’Metal Queen’ was on heavy rotation on MTV back in ’84, but the crown of Queen weighed heavily upon her shoulders and she left the metal path. After a flirtation with Jazz and a sabbatical in which she raised her kids, Lee Aaron is back with ‘Diamond Baby Blues’.
Back in the eighties her band was like a revolving door spitting people in and out, with the exception of guitarist John Albani. Now she has a solid band for quite some time now. Sean Kelly is her main sidekick as guitarist/producer/songwriter. Bass player Dave Reimer has been at her side for over twelve years. Drummer is John Cody, to which Lee Aaron is married. In 2016 Lee made her first step back to the rock front with ‘Fire And Gasoline’. With this album she let’s us know it is serious business. And this is quite an enjoyable album. Not all songs are originals though. Deep Purple’s ‘Mistreated’ gets a nice and respectful treatment, Lee’s voice sounds stronger than ever to me. Where her voice would not be always that convincing back in the eighties, she sounds more matured and stronger now than she ever did. Janet Jackson’s ‘Black Cat’ gets a groovy and swinging treatment, that works just fine. ‘You’re No Good’ does not really add something to the original we already know. The last cover is ‘I’m A Woman’. This one oozes self-confidence and is again a strong vocal performance..
But the original songs are not bad either. Opener ‘Diamond Baby Blues’ is a nice fierce blues rocker. Kelly really shines on this song, but he adds to the enjoyment factor throughout the album with his tasteful style of guitar playing. ‘Hard Road’ will go down well live, nice one. But the more commercial sounding songs like ‘American High’ are also well composed and performed. A single candidate in my book. Unfortunately, not everything is as strong, ‘In The Bedroom’ tends to bore quite quick. The most bluesy track would be ‘Cut Way Back’. Kelly gives the song a psychedelic touch with his flanger effects. In the end this album gets a thumbs up for sure. Not for being a Metal Queen, but as a full blown Rock chick. A title that suits her way more better. Hopefully the follow up to this album will contain more original material. Now only eight out of twelve are original.