LIZ MANDEVILLE, MARY LANE, SHIRLEY JOHNSON,
WITH JOHNNY DRUMMER AND THE STARLITERS
ANGELS SING THE BLUES
EARWIG MUSIC CD 4972
A REAL MOTHER FOR YA–COLD WOMEN WITH WARM HEARTS–GONNA SELL MY CADILLAC AND BUY MYSELF A MULE–BORN IN THE DELTA–GET YOUR LOVIN’ WHERE YOU SPEND YOUR TIME–JUST AS GROWN AS YOU–RIDE IN YOUR AUTOMOBILE–ROCKIN’ IN THE JUKE JOINT–I’M GOING TO FIND ME A LOVER–UNCHAIN MY HEART–PLEASE DON’T MESS WITH MY MAN–JOHNNY DRUMMER INTRODUCES LIZ MANDEVILLE–USE WHAT YOU GOT–JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU–ANGEL FROM MONTGOMERY–OH PLEASE DON’T KILL US–RUN A RED LIGHT
A live recording from 2007 in the Taste Entertainment Center in Chicago mixed in with some cool studio tracks make up Earwig Music’s latest release, “Angels Sing The Blues.” It is done up just like an old-school R & B revue, and shows off the talents of some of the most soulful women in all of blues. There’s Shirley Johnson, Mary Lane, and Liz Mandeville, with Johnny Drummer leading the Starliters backing band.
The set starts the same way those good ole “package shows” used to–with a couple of cool jams from the band to get everyone in the mood. Al “Guitar” Short kicks off with “A Real Mother For You,” followed by “Cold Women With Warm Hearts” from Danny O’ Connor. Johnny Drummer is up next, to tell us that “I’m gonna sell my Cadillac, and buy myself a mule” to save money, and comes back with a strong, emotion-packed autobiography, “Born In The Delta.”
The women come out strutting, and hittin’ with their best shots. Mary Lane shines on “Ride In Your Automobile,” and closes the set with a funky original co-written by Jeff Labon, “Run A Red Light.” Shirley Johnson steps up and grabs the audience with a rousing “Unchain My Heart,” and then slows things down for a hilariously-risque’ tale of “the differences between a husband an a man,” “Please Don’t Mess With My Man.”
Liz Mandeville has a lot of fun, too, with a sultry, harp-fueled medley of “Just Want To Make Love To You/Hoochie Coochie Woman,” and one of our favorites, a “shout-out to all the fellows in the house,” as she bumps and grinds thru the Chicago blues classic, “You got to Use What You Got to please your man!” Our other favorite combined the talents of all three ladies, as each traded verses on a soulful rendition of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery.”
“Angels Sing The Blues” brings together three queens of the blues. Mary Lane, Shirley Johnson, and Liz Mandeville testify and tell it like it is on this fine, fine set! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.