Guitarist Vasti Jackson gave Sista Monica Parker the label of “Lioness of the Blues,” which fairly describes the power and impact of her vocals and performances. Having seen her live a few weeks prior to writing this review, I can attest to the presence of her vocals and performances that she delivers in a natural fashion. She is able to caress a lyric with a whisper before belting out her shouts without it ever sounding mannered or forced. Sista Monica will suggest to some the late Etta James, who along with Koko Taylor, Katie Webster and Ruth Brown, among the Sista’s major inspirations. However, she is her her woman and imitates no one. With a tight band that includes her long-time collaborator Danny B. (Daniel Beconcini), plenty of strong original material and select covers, she commands attention with the soul, warmth and passion she exhibits.
|Sista Monica at the 2012 DC Blues Festival|
The title track casts a different mood as Monica sings about having to be strong and holding one’s own while Mighty Mike Schermer adds nice guitar fills. Tears is a strong slow blues where Monica sings that she can’t stop crying. It has outstanding guitar from Schermer and piano by Danny B. Andy Just's harp adds to atmosphere of the understated Let Me Moan, where she sings that “if you aren’t coming home, leave me alone and let me moan.” There is a soulful reflectiveness displayed on You Can’t Go Back, with Ruth Davies on bass and Danny Caron on guitar.
I received this directly from Sista Monica. Here she is performing the B.B. King inspired Hug Me Like You Love Me.