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Barbara Carr - Keep the Fire Burning

Catfood Records

11 songs; 40:27 minutes

Styles: Soul Blues

The blues is like ice cream: fans recognize what this tasty music is, and there are different “flavors.” St. Louis native Barbara Carr is a maven of “soul blues,” getting her singing career off to a good start in the church choir. She got her big break when she won a position as a singer in local legend Oliver Sain’s band, which she held until 1972. During this time, she also secured a solo deal with Chess Records and released several singles (“Don’t Knock Love,” “I Can’t Stop Now,” “Think About It Baby”). She released her first album, “Good Woman Go Bad,” in 1989, as well as several others in the ‘90s on several other labels, including Paula and Ecko. On the latter label, she had a very successful string of albums and singles over the next ten years. In the second decade of the 21st century, Barbara’s “Keeping the Fire Burning”! As she presents eleven original songs, one can “feel the heat” – especially on these three:

Track 01: “Hanging On by a Thread”--Co-written with fellow Catfood Records artist Sandy Carroll, this album’s opening number is a gritty journey into one woman’s night terror: “At the end of my rope, can’t get out of this bed. Running out of hope--dark clouds overhead. There ain’t nothing but pain, hanging on by a thread….” Some of the rhymes could have been a little more crisp and original (witness “dream” and “dream”), but overall, this earworm will crawl into one’s auditory canal and stick there!

Track 08: “Hold On to What You Got”--This lovely duet with Johnny Rawls is the finest showcase of Barbara’s vocal talent. “A good woman is hard to find, and I’m glad I got mine,” he soulfully warbles. Carr responds in kind: “We’ve been together so very long. He’s stuck by me, whether I was right or wrong!” Is there a lonely soul sitting nearby, especially if you‘re romantically involved? Don’t miss this chance to embrace him or her in a gentle waltz.

Track 09: “You Give Me the Blues”--The pathos in this song’s imagery is its best feature. Fans won’t know whether to laugh or cry: “When I come home, there’s no food to eat. Been watching TV all day long; say you fell asleep. Now my sink is full of dishes; ain’t nobody home. Nobody but you.” Barbara’s critique of her sluggish significant other might make some listeners snicker knowingly.

Joining Carr are Richy Puga on drums and congas, Dan Ferguson on keyboards, guitarist Johnny McGhee, bassist Bob Trenchard, Andy Roman on sax, Mike Middleton on trumpet, and Robert Claiborne on trombone. Together, all of these musicians sustain the “Fire” of soul blues!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 33 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection


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