Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Various Artists: Women Blues Singers

A young Alberta Adams is represented on Women Blues Singers (MCA 2-11788; 68:35/62:06). A two-CD set of blues-drenched recordings spanning 41 years, it begins in 1928 with Bertha “Chippie” Hill’s chilling “Some Cold Rainy Day,” accompanied by Tampa Red on guitar and Thomas Dorsey (a.k.a. Georgia Tom) on piano. Others from this earliest era include Memphis Minnie (“Bumble Bee”) and Jenny Pope (“Whiskey Drinkin’ Blues”). A movement away from rural blues and towards a more sophisticated urban style is ushered in during the late ’30s by the likes of Rosetta Tharpe (“Rock Me”), Blue Lu Barker (“Don’t You Make Me High,” recorded with Danny Barker’s Fly Cats), Billie Holiday (“I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues”) and Georgia White (“I’ll Keep Sitting on It,” which features a young Les Paul on guitar). Other gems on disc one include Rosetta Howard’s “Men Are Like Street Cars,” Alberta Hunter’s “Chirpin’ the Blues” (with Lil Armstrong on piano) and Dinah Washington’s 1945 classic “Blow Top Blues.” Disc two begins in the early ’50s with recordings by Donna Hightower (“I Ain’t in the Mood,” featuring some insane lap steel guitar work by Floyd Smith), Helen Humes (“All Night Long”), Memphis Minnie (“Me And My Chauffeur Blues,” with Little Walter on harmonica), Big Mama Thornton (“Hound Dog”) and Alberta Adams (“Messin’ Around With the Blues,” from 1953). Robust tenor man Noble Watts is featured on Margie Day’s rocking “Take Out Your False Teeth Daddy” and Johnny Copeland pops up as guest guitarist on Lavelle White’s 1958 recording of “If I Could Be With You.” This excellent collection closes out with three killers from the late ’60s-Etta James’ wildly raucous “In the Basement,” Koko Taylor’s classic “Wang Dang Doodle,” Irma Thomas’ passionate rendition of the Otis Redding tune “Good to Me” and Tina Turner’s scintillating take on B.B. King’s “Three O’Clock Blues,” with Albert Collins on guitar. This here is a real goldmine, and compiler Mary Katherine Aldin has already done all the digging for you.

Originally Published