Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ann Rabson Strutted Her Stuff

In light of the passing of Ann Rabson, I though I would delve into my archives for a review from 2001 (The January-February 2001 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 249) in which I reviewed her second recording as a solo act and not as a member of Saffire-The Uppity Blues Women.  I reviewed few months ago, her last CD which was a collaboration with Bob Margolin, Not Alone.

Ann Rabson’s Music Makin’ Mama disc on Alligator was a more than pleasant surprise when released a few years ago. The followup, Struttin’ My Stuff, by this uppity blues woman is on the increasingly important MC Records label. Like the earlier album, this allows her to mix some vintage blues songs with some telling originals with her boogie woogie piano being the musical anchor for most of this set (with unobtrusive bass and drums on several selections) while she switches to guitar for a few cuts. 

While her strongest musical suit is her piano playing, she is more than a capable guitarist and an affable vocalist. Her marriage of traditional boogie woogie motifs with more modern lyrics often results in this disc’s highpoints. Hassle Attack, on which Ann states she grafted her lyrics on a zydeco tune, comes across as a modern reworking of Cow Cow Blues, while this writer was delighted to see her marriage of Chuck Berry’s Sweet Sixteen lyrics to the boogie woogie of Meade Lux Lewis’ Honky Tonk Train, and the closing instrumental Careless Boogie is a nicely paced boogie woogie reworking of Careless Love.

I am not too enamored with the rendition of Eddie Bo’s Check Mr. Popeye, but that might be the result of the understated rhythm on this New Orleans funk number. Brownie McGhee’s Sportin’ Life Blues, is a gem, with her performance capturing the irony of a lyric akin to Willie Nelson’s Night Life

All in all, another recording that should appeal to the many fans she has as well as fans of her from Saffire.

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