Take it from me: You haven't lived until you've stood in the middle of a northern Minnesota festival park, yelling: "I've got BIG OVARIES, Bay- Bee". But living is what Saffire is all about and singing along with them is what we did that Friday afternoon in Bayfront Park. The Uppity Blues Women, Gaye Adegbalola, Ann Rabson and Andra Faye are three wise-women whose eyes shine with the secret life of females. Andra Faye says the secret is knowing how to use her "thunder thighs". Gaye reflects on the care and feeding of her pet "silver beaver". And Ms. Rabson asks: "Now, just how can I have the blues when he treats me so good?"
The Egyptian ankh tattoo on Gaye's left arm says it all. Saffire speaks the language of life with every song they play. For them, it's all about creating and decision making, living large and being in charge. These ladies are definitely into something. And that something is raw, authentic and very female.
I didn't get much time to interview the Uppity Blues Women that day. Immediately following their stage show, they were scheduled to sign autographs in the Electric Fetus tent. I was supposed to talk with them as soon as they'd finished with the crowd. Here, the ole good news/ bad news line fits, because the autograph line was so long,
it took an hour and a half for the crowd to finally dissipate. The UBW were in the Fetus tent so long they eventually had to change the seating order with Gaye walking around for a bit while Andra Faye fielded questions and Ann signed CDs. I grabbed a few minutes with Ms. Adegbalola to ask about her solo CD "Bitter Sweet Blues" on Alligator Records. "It's doing great", she told me, " It's selling as fast as our collective stuff". That's about all the time we had together before she was surrounded by a crowd of
women, wanting to hug her or just touch her. The Blues Women finally had to just get up and leave the tent and their fans, so the following act C.J. Chenier, could sit down and visit with his zydeco people.
I still wanted to at least speak to the other members of the UBW. So, being the intrepid blues reporter that I am, I tracked down Ann Rabson and Andra Faye to complete this mini-interview. Ok.....I followed them when they left the Fetus. I caught up just as they entered the VIP tent to eat. Both were gracious and accommodating but it was VERY obvious they wanted to eat and not talk. I quickly introduced myself, shook their hands, complimented their musicianship, then left them to their meal.
When their stage set had first begun, Gaye caught my attention right away. I was right down in front of the stage when she hollered out at me: "Glad to see a sister out there. Thanks for keeping me company." I guess I'm gonna have to wait until another
time before I can tell her how often their music has kept me company on the air. The Uppity Blues Women play mandolin, guitar and piano. They sing, strut their stuff and get wise during every performance. What they do best, however, is celebrate life, living it as sexually mature and creative females, in control of themselves and their music which they present as a disciplined art form. One of their favorite Twin Cities venues is the Fine Line in downtown Minneapolis. I don't know about you other wise-women out there, but the next time the UBW play here, I'm going to make sure I'm there to
keep them company. But first, I'd better learn the words to "Big Ovaries, Baby". (Released on "Bitter Sweet Blues")
Saffire: The Uppity Blues Women, recording on Alligator Records. New Release: "Ain't Gonna Hush."
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This review is copyright © 2001 by Jacquie Maddix, 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.