Saturday, August 23, 2008
Detroit's Blues Queen is A True Blues Treasure
Alberta Adams is truly Detroit’s Blues Queen. A dancer who became a singer when the vocalist did not show up, she has become the grande dame of the Motor City’s blues scene. She toured extensively with Louis Jordan, Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson, T-Bone Walker, James Moody and Duke Ellington and recorded extensively particularly in the jump type blues style that is her repertoire today. Her latest disc is Detroit Is My Home (Eastlawn Records), and brings her together with some marvelous musicians including that swinging drummer, R.J. Spangler who produced this. Certainly the album can’t get off to a hotter start than the opening boogie woogie, Keep On Keepin’ On, with Mark Braun (aka Mr. B.) coming off like Pete Johnson while the tempo slows down on for the evocative Tired of Being Alone,” with some strong gutbucket piano from Mr. B.,, solid horn playing and nice use of brushes by Spangler. More boogie styled piano is contributed by Al Hill for Hello Little Boy, which reverses the gender on a classic jump blues that Jimmy Rushing and others have sung. Her voice may have developed some rough edges but she still puts so much heart in her vocals with Paul Carey taking a terrific solo here. Mr. B is back on piano on I’m So Worried, which also sports some terrific trumpet from James O’Donnell on this moody performance. The title track has a strutting tempo with a touch of a rumba in the rhythm with Alberta reciting the places she has been and having been on the road forever but no matter how far she roams, “Detroit is My Home.” Saffire’s Ann Rabson handles the piano on a duet of Alberta and CeeCee Collins on Lucille Bogan’s sassy Struttin’ My Stuff. Rabson also is heard behind Adams on a medley of I'm On The Move / Every Day, on which CeeCee Collins and Thornetta Davis add backing vocals, and also on Rabson’s blues ballad Hopin’ It Will Be Alright. A bonus live track has Collins joining her for a lively rendition, from the club Sushi Blues, of Rosco Gordon’s Just a Little Bit. Anyone who has been fortunate to see Alberta Adams perform know that she is a national treasure and this latest labor of love on Eastlawn will be highly welcomed by anyone who has seen her and give a sense to others what they have been missing. This should be available on cdbaby.com as well as from bluebeatmusic.com.