Liz Mandville Greeson is what I’d expect in a seasoned performer: a brilliant songwriter, talented performer, non-stop energy, and gut bucket vocals. In many respects, her voice reminds me of a young Janis Joplin, but it’s such a misjudgment to compare one person to another. Personally, I feel that Liz has more control and packs a bigger punch; with all due respects to the latter. If anyone were to question her abilities; I’d be quick to point out that she has survived the Chicago blues club circuit for the last seventeen years—by all means; a very difficult venture. As a blues musician and former Maxwell Street performer, I’m speaking from direct experience. The competition is beyond belief—Chicago rules! Now let’s get to Liz; the press release describes her new album as a dark and sexy blend of Chicago blues, and Memphis soul. Man, how true it is! I love this record. She wrote forty songs for this session (unbelievable!) and decided on thirteen tracks. The mix is as good as it gets all the way through from track #1 to #13. My personal favorites would read like this: Track #3, Those Kisses, a slow blues shuffle (check out the piano/lead guitar compliments) with her please-carry-me-away vocals. Track #4, Friendly Stranger, continues in the key of blues! A nice up-tempo jump ala Memphis with Ron Sorin’s harp right on top of Liz—very cool. Track #5, Walking On Eggshells, is highlighted by a tough horn section, and a whole lot of soul. Track #6, Reefer Woman, is totally Chi-Town: kick-ass slide (J.B. Hutto would’ve dug this one!), and a topper for the kid! Track #8, Quit Doggin’, has a nice East Texas via Austin feel to it. Track #11, Jim Beam, has an East Coast Piedmont feel to it—Liz on solo Acoustic guitar and vocals; simply irresistible. On track #13, Goin’ Home, she takes you on a haunting blues ride with gospel overtones. The background vocals along with Greeson’s four octave delivery are beyond words. My highest recommendations.
This review is copyright © 1999 by Dick Houff, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.