Marion James review July 14 2012…

MARION JAMES

NORTHSIDE SOUL

ELLERSOUL RECORDS  ER 61201

I FELL–SMOKIN HOT–CORRUPTED WORLD–CRUSHING MY HEART–I’M JUST WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR–NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME–BLUES RECIPE–MR. BLUES–I KNOW A GOOD THING–I BELIEVE TO MY SOUL–CANDY–MAN SIZE JOB–I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU

 

Marion James has been Nashville’s “Queen of the Blues” since the mid-Sixties heyday of the Jefferson Street blues and R & B scene of which she was a vital part.  She scored big with her 1966 bExcello hit, “That’s My Man,” and has just released “Northside Soul” for EllerSoul Records.  It is thirteen cuts that revisit that classic soul and blues era, and pairs Marion with some of the best sidemen in contemporary blues.  Joining her are Steve Bassett on keys, Ivan Applerouth on guitar, Tod Ellsworth on bass, and Dusty Simmons, Brad Ellsworth, and George Sheppard on drums.  Add in a full horn section, and this one smokes from start to finish!

 

She kicks things off with a tale of a lousy lover about to get the heave-ho, “I Fell flat on my face when I fell for you!”  Everybody’s favorite juke joint is “Mr. Blues,” while Marion’s breathy vocal over the punched-up horns defines “Smokin Hot.”  She tackles social injustices in today’s society with “Corrupted World,” then turns in a fine read of “Candy” as a torchy love song.  She closes the set with another blast of funk, “I Just Want To Make Love To You,” which is sandwiched between an old-school intro and outro from way back in the day!

 

Our favorite was easy.  Marion takes us back to the Club Baron and Club Del Morocco days with a swingin’ arrangement of Ted Jarrett’s “I’m Just What You’re Looking For,” featuring a blistering solo from Ivan at the bridge.

 

Marion James tops a very short list of performers from the “Night Train” era that are still working.  After her, there is Charles Walker, Clifford Curry, Frank Howard and the Commanders,  James Nixon, and, sadly, very few others left.  So, let’s rejoice and enjoy “Northside Soul” from our own “Queen of the Blues!!”  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

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