Denise LaSalle – Mississippi Woman Woman Steppin’ Out
Experience the Queen of ‘Soul Blues’ doing the blues in a rare, live small group show never on album like this before!
During the blues revival of the 1960s a whole swathe of great blues artists were totally ignored by the revivalist record companies, writers and promoters. These were the Rhythm & Blues stars – sexy and direct lyrics, sharp suits, swaggering live performances representing the concerns, attitudes and moods of the community they were a part of. What we loosely call ‘Soul Blues’ has also been largely ignored over the past few decades in favour of the guitar led, often rock influenced end of things. Total credit then to Pierre Degeneffe of the Ecaussinnes Blues Festival in booking in 2007 the absolute queen of ‘Soul Blues’, Denise LaSalle.
1. Juke Joints - 2. Blues Party Tonight - 3. Give Me The Strongest Whisky - 4. You Can Have My Husband - 5. Drop That Zero - 6. Mississippi Woman - 7. This Thing Called Love - 8. Lady In The Streets - 9. Down Home Blues / Steppin’ In - 10. My Toot Toot -
Denise LaSalle (vocals) , Vasti Jackson (guitar) , Joe Krown (keyboard) , Al Wilder (bass) , Sammy Allen (drums) , Karen Wolfe (background vocals)
Recorded May 12, 2007 at the Spring Blues Festival, Ecaussinnes, Belgium.
Mixed and mastered by Martin Atkinson at MARS
During the blues revival of the 1960s a whole swathe of great blues artists were totally ignored by the revivalist record companies, writers and promoters. These were the Rhythm & Blues stars – sexy and direct lyrics, sharp suits, swaggering live performances and a contemporary representation of the concerns, attitudes and moods of the community they represented and were a part of.
That didn’t change until a new generation of label owners and promoters came along in the late 1970s and remedied that serious misrepresentation of history.
Oddly, that blindness to an important part of the musical spectrum that is the blues has been reflected in the fact that what we loosely call ‘Soul Blues’ has also been largely ignored over the past few decades in favour of the guitar led, often rock influenced end of things. Total credit then to Pierre Degeneffe of the Ecaussines Blues Festival in Belgium in booking in 2007 the absolute queen of ‘Soul Blues’ , Denise LaSalle.
This fabulous recording gives us a chance to hear Denise in a different setting to her studio albums. This is a small group, blues orientated performance where the lady’s warmth, soul and character just comes shining through. There is tough blues, a nod to her early Soul days, a little cheeky raunchiness and, most importantly, a showcasing of some of the most ‘female empowered’ lyrics that you could get – ‘I’ve Got A New Way Of Wearing My Hair, I’ve Got A Smile On My Face, You Didn’t Put It There’ – priceless… and so many more too.
Just listen to Juke Joints, Mississippi Woman or Lady In The Street. Denise LaSalle creates a character with these songs (lyrics that mean something – so rare these days) – a powerful woman more than the equal to any man, maybe ‘the man’ too.
There’s a great little band here as well – tough playing, instinctively knowing how to play this stripped down, bluesier version of the usual show. The audience too play their part. I’m guessing that a Belgian audience was fully aware of the lyrics and of course ‘gets’ the musical style and performance.
The set ends with Rockin’ Sidney’s ‘My Toot Toot’ – but Sidney was never this cheeky on stage. Denise brings a raunchiness to the performance that echoes the blues women of a bygone age – the ‘Classic Blues’ singers of the 1920s – the tradition continued, but with modern rhythms and styles.
This is a unique and important time capsule of an album.
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