Gaye Adegbalola - Gaye Without Shame
You can pronounce her name, too; try it: (Ah-deg-bah-lo-la).
At first listen, I was not real happy with this CD. It is, I think, very controversial or could be to some people, and, I think, hard to write about without possibly offending someone. I almost passed this one up to let someone else tackle the review. But, I changed my mind after two or three times listening to it.
I have to explain first, this album is all about a gay or lesbian woman, sometimes singing songs about, or to, her lover. As I said, at first I didn't want to go there. I found myself trying to understand, was a little uncomfortable at times, and had many unusual or unfair thoughts. After a first time listen, I thought back to how many times I had heard a man insinuating sexual overtones in a song to a woman, and I had snickered or laughed. Or, I heard a sexy woman singing about the men in the same way and thought how they must have really “big ones” to even sing those x-rated insinuations. But, I always thought they were funny and entertaining. I thought they were just pushing the envelope back then. Now, I think the envelope just got pushed to a whole new level.
The number one track title, “Queer Blues,” sets the stage for the rest of the CD, or that's what I thought at first. “Queer Blues” is a coming out and saying: Hey, we are going to talk about this whether you want to or not! With Roddy Barnes on piano and Jim Brock on drums (who do a fine job on every track they are highlighted on), Gaye Adegbalola is not afraid or ashamed and will not make any excuses for being gay. I think she is very proud of it and pretty much says so throughout this album. She has a great voice and uses it very well on a cover or two like the 2nd track, “Honest I Do,” by one of her, and my, favorite song writers, Jimmy Reed.
In the 7th song, Gaye cries out to the “fellas” to have safe sex in a song titled, “Bareback Rider,” where one line is, "You can't ride bareback." On this song, producer and guitarist on this project, Bob Margolin, along with Roddy Barnes on piano, sing back up as the “Trojans.”
On Gaye's original tune, “Hetero Twinges, cut #13, Roddy Barnes on piano, with a New Orleans piano style, really goes out of his way to make it sound good. This is one of many unusual, friendly, and funny songs done about a good looking guy that Gaye seems to have thoughts about, even if she doesn't “lean that way.”
Gaye put together a very unique album that is, as she says, for “All the People, Black -White, straight-queer, young and old, living and dying, dancing or crying, in love or heartbroken-- Love is Love and Heartbreak is Heart Break.”
This CD is both happy and sad, with humor, with Great guitars – acoustic and electric slide, with piano, bass, drums, and vocals. AND, with a different take on a lot of things.
I can't finish with out mentioning, last but not least "The Speech." It’s a bonus track which is excerpted from an original speech Gaye gave at a public speaking event at the Fredericksburg Pride Festival in 2005. Its subject is "Civil Rights vs. Queer Rights." Listen to it, and more than once! It was powerful enough to make me want to do this review with out running away and hiding from these truths.
Thank you, Gaye, for doing this album. I know you made me think a little differently about some issues. And, I hope it does for others also.
Review by Tom "THE ENERGIZER" Schlesinger, a long time blues lover and fan, and a veteran of many Legendary Blues Cruises and Festivals all over the mid west and Florida.