Alberta Adams is a roots music legend and is one of the great hidden treasures of the blues. Miss Adams is the undisputed queen of Detroit blues. She has sung with everybody who's anybody in her career that spans seven decades. In that time she has traded songs with Big Joe Turner and LaVern Baker in their heydays, and has toured with Louis Jordan and Duke Ellington.
Her sophomore Cannonball release features the truth from the street. Its a collection of tales about lifeís trials and tribulations. The 60 minute CD includes 11 tracks of which 10 were written either by Alberta and/or Detroit based musicians/songwriters. Itís a fitting tribute to the blues talented Motor City.
Once again she is backed by Johnnie Bassett and the Blues Insurgents who well represent her jazz and big band roots. She gives the band plenty opportunity to strut their stuff and acknowledges them in "I Want A Man". Throughout pianist Bill Heid is easily the most outstanding musician and is now sure to be highly in demand. Producers R.J. Spangler and Bill Heid have done a fine job capturing the essence of this grand lady.
She immediately launches into her raucous and hard singing on the opening title track, "Say Baby Say". The big band sound of the brass section and the smooth jazz fretwork of Bassett add to the pure pleasure of this number. It is in stark contrast to the original version of the tune included on the Blues Across America The Detroit Scene CD (Cannonball 29201). That version was faster paced and interlaced with rockin piano and guitar solos.
Alberta loves singing about those no good men and therefore "No Good Man" is destined to become one of her classics. She powerfully and passionately belts out the fact that she is in love with a no good man. Then quite dramatically softens up the lyrics on "I Want A Man" to the point where they are almost spoken.
"We Ainít Makiní Honey" features lyrics right out of the books of Saffire. Once again Alberta sets her man straight by singing if you ainít makin money, we ainít makin honey! She also lets us know where she stands by strongly singing Iím a queen bee, I got the sweetest honeycomb! Somehow amongst all this, the mighty fine harp work of Brian Miller still manages to come through on this track.
Alberta Adams has been there, done that and has the weathered voice to prove it. This CD is a fine modern selection of songs sung in the vein of the great female jazz singer albums of days gone by.
For booking and information, contact: R.J. Spangler by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.canball.com
This review is copyright © 2000 by Tim Holek, 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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