Any Woman's Blues
Rounder Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/08/2002
Rounder Records has done more to sustain, preserve, and make accessible America's musical heritage than any other label. Buying their stuff should be considered a patriotic act or something; so as we cruise through this 226th summer since America's founding, time to dig into the stacks for a few Rounder gems that are long overdue for a listen. Any Woman's Blues strikes me as a great place to start. An overview of 30 years of female blues recordings on Rounder, it stands out as a magnificent piece of work and a musical education all in one.
First off, there's the CD itself. Quite often collections like this skip on the liner notes; but on Rounder's Heritage series, you know exactly what it is you're listening to due to exhaustingly-documented booklets in the CD. This is a real plus. Past that, the production is without error; it's tough to mix 30 years of sound on one CD, but compilation producers Scott Billington and Marian Leighton Levy manage it effortlessly.
It's the songs, however, that grab you and hold on. Highlights include Crescent City blues/jazz Michelle Wilson on "Half Past The Blues"; Irma Thomas covering Aretha Franklin's "Dr Feelgood"; the incomparable Maria Muldaur on "Oh, The Rain"; and Ann Peebles' "Full Time Lover". The best thing on the CD, by far, is female blues guitar pioneer Barbara Lynn blistering her way through "Payback". Great song.
Any Woman's Blues is a gateway into some gorgeous and powerful vocal and musical performances that should not be missed. Get educated today.