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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


I Want Candye!
By Leslie Rosenberg

Candye KaneWhen I arrived at Jack Rose’s restaurant in midtown Manhattan at 10 o’clock on a recent Saturday night, I was shocked to find the upstairs performance space nearly empty. The former stripper turned singer Candye Kane was scheduled to go on in minutes, and I feared that a lack of publicity would result in a poor turnout. To miss her performance would be a cryin’ shame for anyone enamored of swing and blues—this gal’s got pipes like a hotrod, revving full throttle from the get go. Fortunately, my fears were soon allayed, as a steady stream of tourists, locals and swing kids filled the joint to capacity within the next half hour. Proof positive that wherever she goes, Candye always draws a crowd.

I knew from her album covers that Candye was a large woman, but she was bigger than I expected—buxom and full-bodied with a full, round voice to match. The band kicked things off with two high-tempo instrumentals, but it was Candye who set the tone for the night as she launched into her trademark number, "200 Pounds of Fun," of off her fourth CD, Swango (Sire). In her flapper dress, fishnets, biker boots and red feather hat, she made it clear that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s lived through some hard times, as expressed on her latest album, The Toughest Girl Alive (Rounder), and she’s learned to keep things light.

Photo © Justice Howard
It came as no surprise, then, that Candye camped it up on stage. She was alternately giggly and sultry as she worked her way through two hour-long sets that included everything from the gospel-tinged "One More Day (Without Your Love)" to the Western Swing song "I Left My Heart in Texas," originally recorded with Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys. During the bluesy "Wildcat for Your Love," she displayed a girlish sex appeal, like a teenager at a high school talent show toying with her very grown-up urges. And after each song, she gleefully thanked all the dancers burning up the floor in front of the stage, commenting at one point, "I love to see everybody using their bodies in creative ways."

Her show has been described as "a revival meeting in the parking lot of an x-rated bookstore," and she is one performer best experienced live. The remainder of her current tour takes her from Minneapolis to Phoenix via San Diego this month. For more information or to order her CD, visit

Behind in your reading?
Check out past ATOMIC features.

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2000 Article List
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2003 Article List
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