Sunday, June 24, 2012

Big Time Sarah Lays It On 'Em Girls

Big Time Sarah is another blues woman from Chicago who has never received the acclaim her talents merit. The following review appeared in the September 1993 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 184) to which I made minor stylistic changes. Lay It On ‘Em Girls is the first of three albums she recorded for Delmark. I will be posting in a week or so a 1996 review of another Delmark CD by her. This CD is still available.

A woman blues singer with a strong release is Big Time Sarah with her brand new release on Delmark, Lay It On ‘Em Girls. One-time a protege of Sunnyland Slim, she is one of a number of tough women Chicago blues singers (others include Bonnie Lee and Zora Young) . I’ve been told that live, Big Time Sarah is an especially bawdy performer.

She previously recorded in France on an album shared with Zora Young and Bonnie Lee, and later had an album out on the Blues R&B label. Delmark has issued the nicely produced album with a good mix of material which includes several Willie Dixon numbers (I Make Love, Hootchie Kootchie Woman, Lay It On ‘Em Girls, and Every Man I See), and unusual material such as Summertime, and Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine.

She possesses a husky voice, and sings in a somewhat dry fashion, although she growls on occasion like on Evil Gal Blues. Her performances of the Dixon songs are first rate, perhaps being the high points of the set with the opening I Make Love and the title cut being especially sassy performances. Other performances are entertaining although her Evil Gal Blues and Summertime, while refreshing choices, are less successful.

Her band, The BTS Express, is excellent and adds a jazz and funk sensibility to its blues playing. Guitarist Rico McFarland impresses with his fleet, jazzy attack and imaginative soloing while Rodney Brown’s tenor sax work is especially tasty. Certainly another blues woman to be reckoned with.

No comments: