Ann Rabson is probably best-known to most blues fans as a member of Saffire, The Uppity Blues Women, who over the course of seven discs for Alligator Records virtually created a whole new sub-genre within the blues canon; that of the proudly defiant, staunchly feminist, and unabashedly strong blues mama who has no intention of puttin’ up with no no-good men.
While she’s still very much still a part of Saffire, this is Anne’s second solo project, her first for M. C. Records. She works here primarily in a trio setting, with Marty Ballou on bass and Richard Crooks on drums. She takes occasional solo turns on both piano and guitar; credits also list kazoo among her accomplishments. She handles all vocals with a slightly smoky yet surprisingly spry voice.
Ann is an accomplished pianist, handling everything from boogie to barrelhouse to ballads with aplomb. She has a good left hand, lots of rumble in the lower registers, and can be quite dazzling at the top end. She also proves a more than adequate guitarist, with some very nice acoustic work and, apparently, her very first recording on electric.
Rabson wrote four of the disc’s generous sixteen tracks, with co-writing credit on another. Her originals fit quite nicely into the playlist, matching time-honoured structures with contemporary lyric themes. (Her own “Love Song (Ode To George)” is absolutely wonderful). Of the covers, Chuck Berry’s “School Days” proves the only unfortunate choice; everything else is ideally suited to her sassy approach.
That approach may appeal to some more than others, if only because Rabson refuses to take the traditional stance of a woman wronged. Instead we get the tit-for-tat “Not As Sorry As I Used To Be,” and the give-no-quarter “What’s Good for the Gander Is Good For the Goose.” Shy and retiring she’s not.
With lots of variety in tempo and arrangement, “Struttin’ My Stuff” stands up well to repeated listening . . . this one’s recommended!
M. C. Records
PO Box 1788, Huntington Station, NY 11746
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