Saffire - The Uppity Blues WomenOld, New Borrowed & Blue Alligator
This is the 4th Alligator album by Saffire - the Uppity
Blues Women, and the first in which Andra Faye McIntosh fully
participates as a vocalist as well as a musician. Her presence has added
to Saffire’s music by providing new instrumental voices (particularly
her mandolin, and fiddle) as well as her wonderful singing.
of 16 songs includes a number of songs that reflect influences and
particular favorites of the trio’s members. It opens up with a rousing
version of Phil Wiggins’ Fools Night Out with each taking a turn at lead
and Ann Rabson pumping the piano with a New Orleans flavor. Then, Ann
launches into T’aint Nobody’s Business and Andra Faye sings Sippie
Wallace’s You Got to Know How, adding a nice fiddle solo. Gaye
Adegbalola provides a wonderful version of Do Your Duty, a song long
part of their repertoire. Listening to Gaye’s vocal, one appreciates how
confident and expressive she has become after being on the road for all
these years, and she sings it here with as much enthusiasm as back in
the group’s early days.
While some tunes hark back to the twenties, some
are of more recent vintage. Ann does Amos Milburn’s Roll Mr. Jelly,
although her piano sounds too polite for this boogie woogie blues.
Highlights from Gaye include a nice reading of Johnny Ace’s The Clock,
and her own Bitch With a Bad Attitude, where she tells off her no-good
man, from telling the IRS he has no dependents to threatening to
Bobbittize him. Andra Faye conveys similar sentiments in The Richest Guy
in the Graveyard. Andra Faye closes the album with Ma Rainey’s Yonder
Comes the Blues, with her mandolin accompaniment joined by Ann and Gaye
on guitars with a fitting nod to the “Mother of the Blues,” ardently
sang and played.
This is the Uppity Blues Women’s finest album. Their
newest member plays no small part with her strong playing that augments
Ann Rabson’s own solid instrumental contributions, and strong singing is
heard from all three. This review appeared in the December 1994-January 1995 Jazz & Blues Report(Issue 197). I likely received a review copy from Alligator Records. Here is a video from Saffire's farewell tour.