Fish in Dirty H2O
Big Blue Records
Barbara Blue has the power in her voice to mimic a tornado touching down right outside your door; and she also has the feel to be the soft sheet that is gently laid over you by a caring person. She does what the song calls for in the manner that she thinks will address the concerns in the song. At times it is her foot mashing the gas pedal to the floor in a high-octane unmuffled street racer with all the husk she has in her voice, (“My Heart Belongs to The Blues”), as well as many other tunes on this disc. She also has the knowledge to pull back on a song and quietly let the words speak for themselves, in a quieter manner that speaks clearly though loudly of peaceful times as in “Walk Away”. There are times to speak with force and equally there are times when gentleness handles the situation far more cleanly. She started singing as a kid in Pittsburgh and always remembers music in the house and in her life and has gone through life with music. Most of this disc is Blues, but there is also soul, R&B, and a song that has some rap.
On this disc of 13 tracks, she does 7 originals; five songs co-written with Mark Narmore and Sandy Carroll, one with Mark Narmore, and one on her own. The rest are covers that she makes her own, or maybe I should say she and the band make their own. The band is made up of top- shelf musicians, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on the drums, Dave Smith – bass, Will McFarlane – guitars, with assistance from Johnny Lee Schell, Michael Coles, and Scott Sharrand, and way too many more players — all have paid their dues, and do what they are supposed to do to support Ms. Blue on this disc. There is a comfortable feel that allows her to go about her business and this she does with great feeling.
Barbara Blue was not a name we were familiar with, however after a couple of listenings people were clamoring for more of her. This is someone who has paid the dues and more than deserves a listen, This is someone you can take seriously as she has both a unique way of saying what she has to and she makes it sound great.
by bob gottlieb