Barbara Blue has played a regular gig at Silky O’Sullivan’s on Beale Street for the past decade, and has become a Memphis must-see during that time. She’s released four excellent albums, the last three with the Phantom Blues Band in support, and even picked up a 2007 Blues Music Awards nomination as Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year. In addition, the UK’s Shout Records recently released an import compilation culling highlights from her four albums. A powerhouse singer with great stage presence, it seems only appropriate to capture Blue in her element, so she’s released LIVE Volume 1 on her own Big Blue Records.
Slated as the first of three releases, LIVE Volume 1 was recorded in October and November of 2007, and presents Blue’s sparkling take on some classic tunes (“Hound Dog,” Sippie Wallace’s “Woman Be Wise,” Koko Taylor’s “Wang Dang Doodle,” “Stormy Monday,” and “Lose Your Good Thing”) along with some favorites from her previous releases (“The Road Comes To Me,” “Someday Someway,” “Can’t Get Your Loving Off Of My Mind,” “Toolbox Blues,” and “Rainy Night In Memphis”).
Blue sounds fantastic. Her vocals range from big and brassy to smoky and seductive. Her interplay with the audience is confident and relaxed. Her working band is first-rate and includes her longtime piano man Nat Kerr, guitarist Corey Osborn, and Lannie McMillan on saxophone. Kerr, Nancy Apple, and Reba Russell contribute backing vocals.
It all adds up to another great release from Barbara Blue, who has developed into one of the most talented female blues singers working these days. It will be interesting to see what the upcoming Volumes 2 and 3 have to offer. They’ll be hard-pressed to top LIVE Volume 1.
--- Graham Clarke
Barbara Blue review....
Written by Don Crow
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
LIVE, VOL. 1
SILKY'S INTRO--LOW DOWN DIRTY DAWG--THE ROAD COMES TO ME--HOUND DIG--WOMAN BE WISE--SOMEDAY SOMEWAY--THAT'S NOT YOUR BABY--WANG DANG DOODLE--CAN'T GET YOUR LOVING OFF MY MIND--WILD STAGE OF LIFE--TOOL BOX BLUES--STORMY MONDAY--RAINY NIGHT IN MEMPHIS--LOSE YOUR GOOD THING--ROCKIN' AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE--O HOLY NIGHT
It's not a complete trip to Memphis for us without a stop at the legenday Silky Sullivan's Club at 183 Beale, to share an evening with "Memphis' Queen Of The Blues," Barbara Blue! And, that's what a packed house of revelers wanted on the nights of October 25, 26, and November 21, 2007, which make up the performances presented in "Live, Vol.1."
Barbara is indeed a "human IPOD," boasting a repertoire somewhere in the neighborhood of 7000 songs, and on this live set, she's joined by her longtime pianist, Nat Kerr, along with sax from Lonnie McMillan, guitar from Corey Osborn, and her backing chorus of Kerr, Nancy Apple, and Reba Russell. They run the gamut from crowd-pleasing favorites such as "Wang Dang Doodle," "Hound Dog," and "Stormy Monday," as well as a few holiday chestnuts for good measure.
We are partial to Barbara's oriiginal material from her prior releases, tho. "When it comes to layin' pipe," that "tool" in "Toolbox Blues" sure comes in handy! After working on Beale Street for several years now, thankfully, "The Road Comes To Me." And, just "like a fever that won't break," "Can't Get Your Lovin' Off My Mind" jumps right out at ya, with hot guitar leads from Corey Osborn. A little sage advice from Barbara is given out in "Woman Be Wise," and "don't advertise your man," from a song that dates from the 1930's.
She's bold and brassy, and, in the words of bossman Silky Sullivan himself, "Barbara Blue can make a glass eye cry." You won't cry after listening to "Live, Vol. 1," as you'll be too busy dancin' and singin' along! This is a great set from Barbara, and captures her at her best, with definite home-court advantage in front of a very appreciative crowd! Until next time....Sheryl and Don Crow.
FINALLY....... Ladies & Gentleman,
Barbara Blue and Nat Kerr have finished their first ever LIVE recording @ Silky O'Sullivans 183 Beale Street Memphis TN.
After 10.5yrs of working 5 nights a week @ Silky's, this dynamic duo and a few guest's spent 3 nights recording LIVE to bring you a portion of the entertainment experienced and enjoyed by numerous Memphis residents and visitors!! They boast a repertoire of over 7000 songs!! Although Barbara Blue is a world noticed Blues Performer with a 2007 BMA Nomination in the category of Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year....... At Silky's her goal is to entertain so she mixes her blues with just about any song the audience requests.... well with in reason and good taste!! So here is Volume 1..... 2 & 3 will follow .... So look forward to #2 to be released in February and #3 to be released in May!!
Producer ~Barbara Blue
Co. Producer ~Dawn Hopkins
Executive Producer~ Blue Productions
Recorded LIVE @ Silky O’Sullivans
183 Beale Street ~ Memphis, TN
Thursday Oct. 25, 2007
Friday Oct. 26, 2007
Wednesday Nov. 21, 2007
By ~ Dawn Hopkins
Mixed by ~ Dawn Hopkins
Mastered by L. Nix & Co., Inc.
Inside Ardent Studios ~ Memphis, TN
Vocals ~ Barbara Blue
Piano ~ Nat Kerr
Saxophone ~ Lannie McMillan
Guitar ~ Corey Osborn
Background Vocals ~ Nat Kerr, Nancy Apple & Reba Russell
Graphics ~ Nancy Apple
Cover Photo ~ Barbara Blue
Other Photo's ~ Barry Shaw, Kathy Keller, Omar Hysong & Stennis Watson
It only took 3 days for "The Queen of Beale Street" aka Barbara Blue to record a magnificant "live" album, with the apriciated cooperaion of Nat Kerr / piano & backing vocals, Lannie McMillan / sax, Corey Osborn / guitar, Nancy Apple & Reba Russel / background vovals. Place to be was the beautiful location @ Silky's O'Sullivan's 183 Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee and for the owners Silky & Joellyn Sullivan and the numerous present fans those days Thursday Oct.25, 2007, Friday Oct. 26, 2007 & Wednesday Nov. 21, 2007 undoubtedly grew to one of the biggest blues/roots party.
As we already mentioned by the release of "By Popular Demand" (Shout Records, see rev. '07), an very good release of her album "Sell my Jewelry" ('01) with some nice bonus, one makes it clear with this "Live Volume 1" album that this piece of dynamite not only pampers the tourists every Wed.-Thurs. 7-9 pm, Satuday 5-9 pm & Sunday 4-8 pm,
but also needs to take some time off to honor some Belgium / Dutch clubs / Festivals with a visit. If we have to believe the latest rumours than................. Till than we have to be satisfied by this CD with an openingstrack, and at my request (haha joke), with "Lown Down Dirty Dog". A dynamic beginning that ends in an hour of excellent blues / Memphis music in which Nat Kerr / piano, Corey Osborn / guitar and Lannie McMillan / sax tale the lead and show that they are equally of The Phantom Blues Band (BB's band at the studio albums).
With "In The Beginning When I Was Young..The Road Comes To Me" the fairy-tale strated in Memphis, Tennessee for the in Pittburgh, Pa. born, firm, tatooed lady who with rocking versions of "Hound Dog" (Leiber & Stoller) and "Rainy Night in Memphis" (JD. Garrison) evens the road for steaming blues classics like "Well they Call It Stormy Monday" (Aaron T.Walker), "Someday Somewhere" (Ronnie Earl), "That's Not Your Baby" (Hamonicaplayer James Harman), Willie Dixon's clappin'& singin' "All Night Long...Wang Dang Doodle", "Toolbox Blues" (Sandy Carrol / James Solberg / Charlie Bingham). Blues with balls performed by a lady who gets you by the neck with no obvious covers as "Can't Get Your Loving Off My Mind" (Doug Getchall/Jim Weatherly), the jazzy "Wild Stage of Life", the R&B tune "Loose Your Good Thing" (Barbara Lynn Ozen, black female singer-songwriter from Beaumont, Texas), "Rocking Around The Christmax Tree". Singin', drinking, shakin' your ass.........are steady ingredients of an BB concert with Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" which refers to a long time ago when Janis Joplin was performing and also owned such wonderfull pipes.....
Volume 2 and 3 are coming too and we hope naturally to listen to bloodshacking versions of "Lake Charles" & "Drunken Angel (Lucinda Wiliams), "Moonlight over Memphis", "Shuffle all Light Long" & "You Can't Stop My Love" (Nancy Apple) and Charlie Rich's "Don't Put No Headstone on My Grave". Memphis Red Hot Rhythm & Blues.............Soul To The Bone..........The Human Jukebox.....She is healing hearts with her soul!!!(SWA)