One look at Christine Ohlman's trademark blonde beehive hairdo -- an ongoing tribute to Ronnie Spector -- and you know she's serious about her rock and soul. A writer, singer, book editor, record collector, and performer, Ohlman is probably best known to the general public for her work as vocalist in the Saturday Night Live Band, specifically during the G.E. Smith years. Both were founding members of the Scratch Band, which specialized in the soul-drenched rock she has continued to release with her own group, Rebel Montez. Ohlman's mother was responsible for her early interest in jazz and blues, but Christine was more influenced by American roots rockers like Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, and especially deep Southern soul singers. After three albums with the Scratch Band on the obscure Big Sound label, Ohlman's solo career began in earnest with 1996's The Hard Way. The album spotlighted her own material, which accounted for all but two tracks. The live Radio Queen followed in 1997 but it wasn't until 2000's Wicked Time, co-credited to Rebel Montez, that her next set of predominantly original songs was available.
Strip, from 2003, found Ohlman grinding through a cover of "I Can Only Give You Everything," with her powerful R&B vocals bringing life to the garage classic. The Beehive Queen, as she is nicknamed, has also appeared prominently on various-artists collections such as Labour of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe, A Tribute to Howlin' Wolf, The Songs of Willie Dixon, and Exile on Blues Street, a covers set of the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St. where Ohlman performs "All Down the Line." She has also contributed her husky pipes to albums from the diverse likes of Charlie Musselwhite, Kenny Neal, Eddie Kirkland, Big Al Anderson, and Ian Hunter. Ohlman sang the theme song for 30 Rock and can be heard as a background singer on Bob Dylan's The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, recorded live at Madison Square Garden in 1992. In her non-vocal work, she was an original contributor to All Music Guide and edited Andrew Loog Oldham's book 2Stoned. A new album, Re-Hive, again featuring Rebel Montez, was released by Horizon Music Group in 2008. The Deep End followed in 2010. ~ Hal Horowitz