Gaye Adegbalola review…January 4, 2019….

GAYE ADEGBALOLA

THE GRIOT

VIZZTONE/HOT TODDY VT-HTM-2420

NOTHING’S CHANGED–THE GRIOT–LIEARRHEA–FGM (FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION)–DIRTY SHEETS–{YOU’RE) FLINT WATER–KAEPERNICKED–AIN’T TECHNOLOGY GRAND?–GON’ BE ALRIGHT–DON’T CRITICIZE ME–NOTHING LEFT–(THERE IS ALWAYS) ONE MORE TIME–NEED A LITTLE SUGAR IN MY BOWL–TEA CAKE KIND OF LOVE–3 HOUR SHOES (STYLIN’ FOR THE LORD)–SORRY, BUT….NO SHAME–JELLY BEAN BLUES

In West African lore, the Griot (GREE-oh) was a walking archive of oral history who also served as an entertainer and story-teller.  Gaye Adegbalola brings that tribal lore into the 21st Century with her latest album for the Vizztone label, aptly entitled “The Griot.”  She sees herself (as do we) as a modern-times griot who uses the robust seventeen cuts provided herein to deliver a strong message to today’s society, holding nothin’ back while unloading on the powers that be, hypocrisy, vanity,  pollution, and a whole host of other wrongs that need to be righted.

There are so many highlights, fans, so let’s get busy!  It doesn’t take a Phi Beta Kappa to figure out who the subject of “Liearrhea” is, with all his “lies of omission, commission, too.”  This one is set over an acoustic, country-blues groove.  “Kaepernicked” uses a furiously-funky, Famous Flames-type arrangement to “thank him for taking a knee for me!”  Female vanity is addressed by suffering thru church and “stylin’ and profilin’ for the Lord” in those “3 Hour Shoes.”  Anyone not familiar with the way it was when the Jim Crow laws were in effect would learn much from a listen to the Diddley-beat of how, sadly, “Nothing’s Changed,” calling out the names of Emmitt Till and James Byrd, Jr., senselessly murdered because of the color of their skin.

Gaye does present some lighter moments, tho.  She shouts-out to some of the “pioneer women of the blues,” if you will, such as Memphis Minn[e, Ma Rainey, and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston with “Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl,” and “Tea Cake Kind Of Love,” respectively.  Both are done up in vintage-styled arrangements, in keeping with the era in which they were written.

All things considered, tho, Gaye Adegbalola, with “The Griot,” is at her best when she’s using these lyrics to stand up for the oppressed and fire back at all the haters!  These are sho’ nuff some topical blues for topical times!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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