Saturday, January 06, 2007

Marcia Ball CD review

Here is a review from nearly a decade ago of Marcia Ball's Rounder album, Let Me Play With your Poodle that appeared in the Cleveland based Jazz & Blues Report in 1997 and the DC Blues calendar around the same time. This is the album where she first sang Randy Newman's Louisiana, 1927, a song unfortunately made timely in light of Hurricane Katrina. This was before the excellent guitarist Pat Boyack started his tenure with Ms. Ball with what became an excellent touring band.

Marcia Ball
Let Me Play With Your Poodle

Marcia Ball’s first new album in several years contains the same lively mix of New Orleans R&B, zydeco and gulf coast blues that have made her such a popular performer, mixing her smooth, yet so soulful vocals with her vigorous piano on a savory menu of musical treats - some vintage blues and some she newly penned. The title cut is a classic Tampa Red number that was also a staple of Lightning Hopkins’ repertoire that Ball dresses up in a hot zydeco arrangement and plays at a very hot tempo with Paul Klemper’s sax and Steve Williams guitar adding solo voices in addition to Ball’s Crescent City based piano groove. Others on this session include Derek O’Brien, Clarence Holliman, and Kaz Kazanoff. Also included is a rocking version of Clarence Garlow’s R&B classic, "Crawfishin’," and her own originals, like "Why Woman Cry" and "The Story of My Life," are sung in an unmannered, soulful fashion that is a real delight to listen to. Those who might quibble and suggest that Marcia Ball’s music lacks the grit and grime of some other artists would be ignoring her soulfulness, which can be heard in all of the performances here. And when she finishes Randy Newman’s ballad about the Mississippi River floods of 1927,"Louisiana, 1927," you’ll be ready to give this disc another spin.

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