"Say Baby Say"
Cannonball Records (CBD 29114)
by Dick Houff
Review date: July 2000
1999 KBA Award Winner|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by the Blues Foundation
Alberta Adams was born into the blues. The old adage about making a life choice early on into a corporate or service career doesn’t quite fit. Alberta’s life was anything but a Cinderella story; she came from hard times and I can’t think of anyone that is more deserving to wear the crown of a queen. In her own words, she says, that "God put me here to sing the blues." It becomes quite apparent when you listen to her voice through decades of road work that started in the 40’s. She has sang with Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan, T-Bone Walker, and is comfortable with a full orchestral background as well as the much smaller club band. Amazingly enough, only a handful of 45 rpms were recorded in the early 50’s with the brother’s Chess, and some sides with the Red Saunder’s Band in Detroit. It’s almost criminal to think that after fifty or more years in the business she went without a recording contract. For years, every time I’d hit Detroit, the first
thing that I wanted to know was how to catch Alberta’s act and where! Several years ago, I found her at Francel’s Lounge—sweet and everlasting bliss to say the least was the end result. A mesmerizing experience that I will always cherish. And now, thanks to Cannonball Records, the whole world is at her doorsteps. A new generation of fans both young and old are taking heed to her call. It all started with Cannonball’s "Blues Across America series: The Detroit Scene." Miss Adams had four immortal tracks on that particular outing which led to a contract and her debut album: "Born With The Blues." The album was not only publicly acclaimed, it received six 1999 W.C. Handy Award nominations. And now, with "Say Baby Say: Life’s Trials And Tribulations According To Miss Alberta Adams," we get a second dose of wonder from her. With a road map of talent backing her on this session; including Johnnie Bassett on guitar (shared vocals with Alberta on track #11: "Nothing More To Say"—a spectacular finish and capper!) and a horn section that doesn’t let up until the lights dim. I could continue with reams of copy on this one without letting up because It’s Alberta Adams, and this album is nothing short of an award winning masterpiece.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Dick Houff, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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