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Alberta Adams - Detroit Is My Home

Eastlawn Records

Run Time: 52:14

Alberta Adams has been kicking the jump blues around the Motor City for more than 60 years now. She cut her teeth down on Detroit's Hastings Street with the likes of John Lee Hooker and Bobby Bland in the 40s and 50s. She's toured with the jump blues kings of Louis Jordan, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, and the swing of T-Bone Walker. This dancer turned singer declares loudly at 91 years old that she is Detroit's Queen of the Blues with a little help from some friends of course.

If you are looking for contemporary blues guitar screaming and crying deep into the night, then don't look here. Alberta Adams serves up heaps of the old style traditional urban blues that paved the way for rock n roll in the 50s. From barrelhouse swingers to deeply moving jazzy blues, Adams has a world weary voice that fades in and out. The arrangements and the band of friends that surround these recordings that have been compiled over 2 years time is some of the best old school blues players around the Detroit area. Enlisting keyboard players that checker this disc with some of the finest 88's work of the year, Ann Rabson Mark Lincoln "Mr. B." Braun, and Al Hill show the world how its done. James O'Donnell sounds like he's right out of a Harlem or Detroit club of the 40s with his muted trumpet work on "I'm Worried." Adams also turns in one of her best vocal performances on the same track.

The title track, which was written especially for Alberta is belted out as hard as she can. The band is sharp. Adams' voice is weary but the track still swings. "Doctor Blues" has got a rhumba swing complimented by a beautiful horn arrangement, jazzy guitar licks from Paul Carey, and colored underneath by the piano of Ann Rabson who also wrote the song. This seems to be the tail of the tape for most of the album until CeeCee Collins and Thornetta Davis step up to the mic to help one of their influences. These two ladies add some wonderful background and lead vocals along with this icon from their hometown. Trying not to steal the show (but she does) on the oft-covered Magic Sam tune "Just A Little Bit," Cee Collins belts out this old school tune with some great zest and the backing band is just ruckus! The song is the lone live cut and is a hidden track, tacked to the end of "Hopin' It Will Be Alright."

Adams is at her best and most evocative in her lower registers. See songs like "I'm Worried" and "Always Home" and you'll find two of the most vocally successful songs on the disc for a woman who's lived 91 years. Her voice falters on parts that normally would be belted out by the strongest singer. However, the sass is still there underneath it all. I hope I can still talk at 91, let alone sing. You know the album is completely hers and you stand at attention and recognize when she sings it. Alot of the success of this album really does hinge on the backing band and the co-lead vocal songs (check out the New Orleans flavored "Struttin' My Stuff"). With a host of players too numerous to mention, these guys and ladies are really the cream of the crop when it comes to producing these old school blues & early-sounding R&B tunes. Adams may definitely be the Queen of Detroit's Blues but she's definitely got her a great bunch of subjects to help her continue that reign.

Review By Ben "the Harpman" Cox. Visit his website Juke Joint Soul

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