THE STARS MOTEL
BLUE KITTY RECORDS
TOO HOT FOR LOVE–BLUES IS MY BOSS–EVERYBODY KNEW BUT ME–ONE DANCE–TRY ME–TRUTH–REEFER AND A GLASS OF WINE–WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN–BAD BLUES HABIT–RIVER OF BLOOD–WHAT DO BLUES MEN LIKE?
Chicago lady of the blues Liz Mandeville has a heart as big as her talents. A perfect example of this is the chain of events that led to the release of her latest album for Blue Kitty Records, “The Stars Motel.” The whole thing took three years to craft, and here’s how it went down. First, guitar man Scott Ellison found himself in Chicago with no hotel room, so Liz stepped in and let him stay in her studio, with the caveat that they write three songs together. A year later, Italian bluesman Dario Lombardo found himself in the same boat, and Liz rescued him under the same conditions. Last fall, Rachelle Coba was in town for the Blues Blast Awards, and she and Liz wrapped up three more. The final pieces were composed by Liz and her long-time guitarist, Minoru Maruyama.
The results are a fine, varied, eclectic set of blues that’s bound to have broad appeal. Liz is on vocals and guitar, and the co-writers are also on board, as well as a Who’s Who of Chicago-based backing players. Scott kicks things off on guitar as Liz proclaims “It’s Too Hot For Love here in ol’ Chi-town!” A poignant biography of sorts was one of Dario’s contributions, as Liz lets us all know that “the Blues Is My Boss, my health plan, and my stock and trade!” Rachelle and Liz look at things thru the eyes of a woman as a playfully-mature Liz prods a lover to “Try Me,” set over a walkin’-blues beat, where “the riper berry has got more juice!” Another collaboration with Rachelle led to the set’s most unique cut. A quirky tremolo guitar line and echo-effect vocals detail the haunting story of levee camp workers on the “River Of Blood” and “ghosts of the people who never got free!”
We had several favorites, too. Liz vows not to “wreck four people’s lives,” but finds it hard when she longs for that “One Dance” with the “other man.” A horn section makes this one classic soul at its best. The Mardi Gras second-line pattern of “Everybody Knew But Me” is what you get when “two plus one equals three!” And, Scott’s guitar closes the set as it opened, this time backing Liz on a humorous, swingin’ jump-blues tale of “What Do Blues Men Like” when it comes to women!
Liz Mandeville will tell you that a true classic never goes out of style, and this is one fine blues mama that’s flat-out havin’ a ball doing what she loves. She’s as classy and talented as they come! Hey Liz–got room for two more down at “The Stars Motel?” Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.