SWEET MAMA MUSIC
Lawdy Mama! The Queen of Detroit Blues Shakes the Nations Soul.
Once I discovered ‘The Blues’ in my teenage years via the likes of Cream, Rory Gallagher and Free I soon began delving deep into the back of the dusty racks in local record shops; discovering the delights of everyone from Howlin’ Wolf through John Lee Hooker and eventually Aretha and the joys of Bessie Smith; all of whom I still love and play today in 2017.
Which brings us to the delights of Miss Thornetta Davis; the self-styled Queen of Detroit Blues.
Although sent to my by a PR in the US of A; the cover alone made me want to hear the contents! Track #1 is a real eye-opener; as Thornetta’s sister Felicia reads a poem she wrote for her over some scintillating slide guitar……different; definitely…..but a wonderful introduction and well worth hearing.
The album; her first in 20 years and a follow up to Sunday Morning Music (1996!) then gets going properly with I Gotta Sing The Blues; a feisty up-tempo shuffle showcasing Ms. Davis fabulously expressive voice and also featuring some red hot harmonica from the Fabulous Thunderbird’s legend Kim Wilson!
As you’d probably expect from a woman who has ‘rocked every juke joint either side of the Mississippi’ we get every kind of Blues and Soul style you can imagine; and she does them all justice in a way I’ve not heard since I discovered Sharron Jones.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone to find a couple of Gospel inspired songs tucked away here too; with album closer Feels Like Religion being fast and furious, while Set Me Free (featuring the Larry McCray Band) is a lot more intense but just as groovy.
Thornetta is probably at her finest on the stompers and rockers like Get Up and Dance Your Blues Away and That Don’t Appease Me; but she seems just as home on the slow and sexy Can We Do It Again.
Even though I am a ‘man’ I can still appreciate where Thornetta is coming from on I’d Rather Be Alone and the ‘call to arms’ of Sister, Friend Indeed! A song probably written for and to Felicia but will taken to heart by women everywhere.
Above all else; and this has been a wonderful journey of discovery from start to finish; two tracks really, really stand out.
The title track, Honest Woman is the type of smokin’ Rhythm and Blues I’ve loved for over 40 years now and never tire of listening to; but the red hot Country Blues of I Believe (Everything Gonna Be Alright) is absolutely stunning and in only four and half minutes encapsulates everything I love about Blues and Soul music; and is just the love song America needs right now.
OK, Thornetta Davis has been treading the boards for 25 years now; but to me she’s a real ‘discovery’ and if Honest Woman is anything to go by, her back catalogue and her live shows must be amazing.
Released 29th Sept 2016