Alice Stuart has a lineage of blues music behind her that not only
impresses, but will also surprise many of the uninitiated that may
feel they had a good grasp on the history of the genre. I cannot fathom
why such a pioneering blues woman has not received the worldwide recognition
that she so justly deserves, given the many years of plugging away
in this business, I think its time we all took a harder look at this amazing artist.
I took one look at the cover and could tell that Stuart has traveled
many musical roads; she has that old time blues player look about
her. Her career goes back to the sixties when she played at the World's
Fair in 1961, then she did a stint with Frank Zappa and "The Mothers
of Invention." That is the short version of were she has been and
whom she has played with. Playing on tour with Mississippi John Hurt
was the turning point of her destiny and choice in music; she never
looked beyond the blues after that. From there and everything else
in between we now have "Can't Find No Heaven," a new release that
gives notice that she still is a major player and a force to be reckoned
with in the blues. She was the first woman to front a band of men
and a major influence on artists like Bonnie Raitt. Taj Mahal said,
"Alice cut the road Bonnie traveled." With that kind of sweeping influence,
its no wonder that this album knocked my socks off!
Stuart considers herself as both an interpreter and a songwriter.
I can agree that she has an incredible sense for each song she performs.
She can play the acoustic and electric guitar with equal deftness
and passion. Her vocals take the music to the next level and beyond.
Her deep down-from-the-toes gruff ness and built-for-the-blues vocal
style puts all the emotion and life experience that has taken years
and years of playing on the road and in the studio to develop to good
use. She lays it all one the line in every song.
"The Man's So Good" and "Night Patrol" smolder with the ardor that
a sage like Alice could only muster in a song. Those two tracks were
my favorites; they are the essence of the electric blues. "Big Boss
Man" gets the full treatment; her voice really gets the point across.
By the time it is over you know where she is coming from, where she
has been, and where she is going. Stuart's magic is spun on other
people's songs to bring attention to that particularly artists' work
and her innate ability to completely rework a classic and make it
all her own. Her talents have many dimensions.
This woman is a monument to the blues. Its time she got all the respect
she deserves as one of the most important contributors to the genre
and a trailblazer for woman artists all over the world.
I have to disagree with Alice, there is plenty of heaven to be found,
and its right here on this CD.
1. Big Boss Man (Dixon/Smith/Stuart) - 4:32
2. Blues in the Bottle (Stuart) - 5:27
3. Drop Down Daddy (McDowell/Stuart) - 4:59
4. Turn Your Money Green (Lewis) - 4:01
5. Wild Bill Jones (Traditional) - 4:58
6. I Ruined Your Life (Davison/Stuart) - 4:44 7. Hard Time Killin'
Floor (Nehemiah) - 4:20
8. Rather Be the Devil (Nehemiah/Stuart) - 4:15
9. Sugar Babe (Lipscomb/Stuart) - 3:00
10. The Man's So Good (Stuart) - 4:40
11. Night Patrol (Amy) - 4:55
Alice Stuart - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Vocals, Producer, Liner Notes
Paul deLay - Harmonica
Terry Robb - Bass (Electric), Producer, Slide Guitar
Duffy Bishop - Vocals
Louis Pain - Organ (Hammond)
Janice Scroggins - Piano
Fred Chalenor - Guitar (Bass)