Alberta Adams: On Born With the Blues

On Born With the Blues (Cannonball CBD 29106; 53:55), Alberta Adams, the grande dame from Detroit, shows that she’s still got the feeling at the ripe old age of 79. Backed by guitarist Johnnie Bassett and the Blues Insurgents, Alberta states her case in brutally honest terms on “Blues Mood,” her mournful, pointed tale about the downside of falling in love with a married man. She conjures up a cool mood on “Tell You Like It Is,” which carries the mellow vibe of Joe Zawinul’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” through Bill Heid’s Wurlitzer electric piano, and does Ma Rainey proud on a lively shuffle version of “He May Be Your Man.” Some New Orleans spice is added to the mix on a faithful cover of Dave Bartholomew’s stroll “Goin’ Home Tomorrow” while “Pair and a Spare” is a rap that relates directly back to Louis Jordan’s “Beware.” Alberta’s poignant rendition of “Just a Lucky So and So” harkens back to her work with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in the late ’40s and the autobiographical title track is a jump blues cast in the mold of Jordan’s “Caledonia.” Adams closes out this powerful collection in dramatic fashion with the confessional “Searchin’,” her heartfelt meditation on love lost and love found.