Marcia Ball’s Crescent City-rooted rollicking piano and her honey-laced soulful singing will certainly be familiar on this program on mostly Ball originals (the only cover being Hank Ballard’s “He’s The One”). The title track about two characters of a traveling carnival show gets things started with its buoyant romp. Ball’s sense of humor is exhibited on “Clean My House” set up by a second line groove, while “Just Keep Holding On” is a lovely swamp pop-styled ballad followed by the infectious party groove of “Like There’s No Tomorrow.”
There is plenty of soul heard in Ball’s delivery of “He’s the One,” while Terrence Semien’s accordion and harmony vocal adds a zydeco accent to Ball’s message of folks trying to pay bills and simply scrape by on “The Squeeze Is On.” “Human Kindness” is another message song urging us to show some empathy and open up hearts to our fellow man. McClinton adds harmonica behind Balls’ easy rocking shuffle where she says don’t cry about her shuffles because Marcia “Can't Blame Nobody But Myself.”
The closing “The Last To Know” is a blues about looking back and people seeing what they want to see which a hint of “Nobody Knows You When You Are Down Out” in its melody. Its a wonderfully, played and sung recording. “The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man” delights with Ball’s strong talents as a singer and pianist who also displays her gift as a songwriter. With her excellent band and guests, she has produced another fabulous recording of party grooves mixed with messages of love and hope.
I received my copy from Alligator Records. This review appeared in the November-December 2014 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 357). Here is Marcia Ball in performance doing the title track.