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Tracy Nelson "Victim Of The Blues"
“Tracy Nelson isn’t so much a singer as she is a force field — a blues practitioner of tremendous vocal power and emotional range", is the way one reviewer described her. Her voice has always been her weapon of choice, and she has wielded it to perfection for many years, and it is still as strong and forceful as it has always been, a fact that becomes abundantly clear shortly after you start listening to her latest release, "Victim Of The Blues".
Tracy Nelson is now in her 5th decade of mystifying audiences with here brilliant voice. From the early 60's fronting a band called the Fabulous Imitations, to the well known band Mother Earth, Nelson's resume is steeped in folk and blues tradition. In fact the name chosen for the band Mother Earth came from "the fatalistic Memphis Slim song (which she sang at his 1988 funeral) ." Throughout her career she has had the good fortune to have met and been mentored by many a Blues Legend, including Muddy Waters, Charlie Musselwhite, and Howlin' Wolf, to name a few. Tracy Nelson is also one of only a few female singers who's talent had led her to hits in 2 different genres, Country and Blues.
"Victim Of The Blues" marks the 26th album for Tracy Nelson, an album that was very nearly a victim itself, surviving a heart breaking house fire that destroyed everything but the studio, which the Burns, Tennessee Volunteer Fire Department were able to save. The first Thank You's inside the album's notes are for that Fire Department.
"Victim Of The Blues" was inspired by a trip through the Badlands a few years back, where she had the opportunity to catch the Otis Spann tune, "One More Mile", on XM Satellite Radio, a song which is included on this Album. From there the decision was made to make "a record she says, with some of those fine old songs and be as true and authentic to the style as a Norwegian white girl (is that redundant?) from Wisconsin could manage it." 11 songs were chosen for "Victim Of The Blues", many of them from early heroes of hers, whose songs landscaped the AM radio stations in the 60's, and included songs by Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Percy Mayfield, Lightning Hopkins, Danny Small, Ma Rainey, Willie Dixon, Earl Bridgeman, Phillip Wooton, Chester Burnett, McKinley Morganfield, and Joe Tex. The only piece of work on this album by a first generation blues artists is the title track, "Victim Of The Blues", an original Ma Rainey tune.
Beyond the amazing music on "Victim Of The Blues" is the cast of characters that has joined Tracy Nelson on this great album, and include Marcia Ball, whom performs on piano for Track 3 "Shoot My Baby" and sings with Nelson on that track, as well. Other guest performers included Duet performances by Angela Strehli (Track 6 "Howlin' For My Baby") and John Cowan (Track 11 Without Love"). The main musicians included, Mike Henderson (Guitar, Banjolin on "Victim Of The Blues" Track 5),
Bryon House (Bass), John Gardner (Drums), Jimmy Pugh (Piano/Hammond B3), and George Bradfute (Rhythm Guitar on "The Love You Save" Track 9).
From the opening fast paced Track "You Be Mine" to the Soulful Gospel inspired closing Track "Without Love", Tracy Nelson takes you on a wonderful journey that she has travelled herself, and she does so with an amazing voice that will do nothing less then certainly tug at your heart strings.
"Victim Of The Blues" is a wonderful collection of great blues from the 60's, as well as, Rainey's great early blues classic, and it is a collection that really could not have had a better singer, than Tracy Nelson, belting the songs out.
"Victim Of The Blues" gets my highest rating of 5*****. A great Album from Tracy Nelson, with a magnificent supporting cast.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues underground Network)
Additional Info
1. You'll Be Mine
2. Lead The Horse To Water
3. Shoot My Baby
4. I Know It's A Sin
5. Victim Of The Blues
6. Howlin' For My Baby
7. One More Mile
8. Stranger In My Own Home Town
9. The Love You save (May Be Your Own)
10. Feel So Bad
11. Without Love (There Is Nothing)