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Alberta Adams: Say Baby Say: Life’s Trials and Tribulations According To Miss Alberta Adams

At 70-something, Detroit blues queen Alberta Adams is still out there doing it with old school sass. On Say Baby Say: Life’s Trials And Tribulations According To Miss Alberta Adams (Cannonball CBD 29114; 57:10), the blues diva is backed by labelmate Johnnie Bassett’s band. Some of these tunes work better than others. On the plus side is the shuffling title track (reminiscent of another Alberta, the late Alberta Hunter) or the raw 12-bar blues numbers “No Good Man” and “That Dog.” The contempo-confessional number “I Want a Man” seems tired and “We Ain’t Makin’ Money” comes across as a bit too late, given the risque nature of the song and the advanced age of the singer. Her delivery on the impassioned slow blues “I Cried My Last Tear” or the luxurious lament “Nothing More to Say” is far more dignified and believable. At this point in her career, which dates back to the ’40s, when she toured extensively with the likes of Tiny Bradshaw, Louis Jordan and T-Bone Walker, the elderly Ms. Adams no longer has a decent voice. But she communicates great enthusiasm on the rolling boogie “Don’t Worry Me” and registers righteous indignation with panhandlers and mooches on the spoken word piece “Everybody Got Their Hand Out.”

Originally Published