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November 1997

Marcia Ball
Let Me Play with Your Poodle
Rounder

Pianist Marcia Ball is no slouch in the chops department either. Madame 'Long Tall' has the added advantage of being a soulful, sassy singer with a penchant for letting the good times roll. An Austin resident and honorary New Orleans citizen, she's in fine partytime form on Let Me Play With Your Poodle (Rounder, 3151; 55:00). The romping title track and "The Right Tool For The Job" are both fueled by New Orleans second line drumming and washboard rhythms while a ballsy horn section and a vocal shout chorus punctuates the Crescent City party anthem "Crawfishin'." Marcia turns in an affecting vocal performance on the minor key lament "Why Women Cry" and on the New Orleans stroll "How Big A Fool," her duet with Doyle Bramhall. More sad confessions of love gone bad on "How Big A Fool" and "The Story Of My Life." And another taste of red beans and rice on the Chris Kenner-ish "Something I Can't Do." She closes out this upbeat collection on a somber note with Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927." Highly recommended to N'awlins fans and party fools, though not necessarily blues devotees.

Originally published in November 1997
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