Archive for June, 2012

Liz Mandeville review 05-31-12…

LIZ MANDEVILLE

CLARKSDALE

BLUE KITTY MUSIC   BKM 001

INTRO–COME OUT SWINGING–ROADSIDE PRODUCE STAND–MAMA AND DADDY BLUES–NO FEAR/EVERYTHING–WALKING AND TALKING WITH YOU–A SOLDIER’S WIFE–CLARKSDALE RIVERSIDE HOTEL BLUES–BYE BYE BLUES–SWEET POTATOE PIE–4:20 BLUES–SAND BAGGIN–MY MAMA WEARS COMBAT BOOTS

 

The last time we saw Liz Mandeville was in Memphis, in May, 2011, down on Beale Street.  We were all browsing the racks of great blues at Memphis Music, and she told us that she was in the process of recording a traditional-sounding CD with some very special guests.  That project has come to fruition in the form of “Clarksdale,”  eleven tracks of red-hot blues featuring, among others, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith on harp and drums, Eddie Shaw, and Nick Moss.

 

 

Urged by Willie to start her own record label, this is the debut release for Blue Kitty Music, and Liz’s fifth overall.  Sadly, Willie would pass before this set was completed, but she very ably carried it to finality.  On a trip to the Delta, Liz rekindled her fire and passion for the blues, returning, literally, to what made her fall in love with the music in the first place.  She even stayed at the Clarksdale Riverside Hotel to soak up the ambience.  The cut that bears that name conjures up the ghosts of Miss Bessie Smith and Robert Johnson, and features killer piano from Leandro Lopez-Varady.

 

She also pays tribute to soldiers in the Armed Forces, with the poignant ballad, “A Soldier’s Wife,” where the “four hundred days” will seem like four hundred years.  This one is punctuated by Donna Herula’s sweet slide guitar.  The set closes with a funky, chugging, humorous take on women soldiers, where today it’s a badge of honor if “My Mama Wears Combat Boots.”  This one is spiced up by the rockin’ blues guitar of Nick Moss.   And, Liz isn’t afraid to take on the government, politicians,  and social injustices in the acoustc “4:20 Blues.”  “Sand Baggin” is a cool tune about that historic 2011 flood in Memphis, again with slide from Donna.

 

Liz has always had fun with songs about food, and songs that are just a wee bit naughty.  She combines the two on our favorites.  Willie’s harp drives her swingin’ vocal on “Roadside Produce Stand,” where “you can hold my tomatoes in your hand!”  And, saxman Eddie Shaw wails over Liz’s vocal query of “Who ate my Sweet Potatoe Pie?”

 

“Clarksdale” is our favorite of all of Liz Mandeville’s previous works.  Her pilgrimage to the Mecca of the blues got her creative juices flowing, and she and this band of her blues-playing friends make this one a memorable set, indeed!   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.