Ruthie Foster: The Truth According to Ruthie Foster (Shock)

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Ruthie Foster: Tears of Pain
Ruthie Foster: The Truth According to Ruthie Foster (Shock)

This impressive soul-blues singer makes a guest appearance on the new Eric Bibb album Get On Board -- and Bibb contributes two tracks to this diverse collection of material which roams confidently from the Seventies-styled Stevie Wonder-ish opener (Stone Love) through more gritty guitar-driven material and some slippery soul-reggae not too far removed from the wonderful but largely overlooked (in New Zealand) James Hunter on I Really Love You.

She also brings real emotional depth to Patti Griffin's When It Don't Come Easy (will every song about waters getting rough suggest post-Katrina New Orleans?) and some smooth soul testifying on Hangin' On.

Her own Joy on the Other Side reaches back to rural blues and the church simultaneously, the two Bibb tracks are appropriately redolent of the great blues/soul/gospel traditions and the bluesy Nickel and a Nail speaks of hard times then and now.  Tears of Pain is just a whisker away from a brilliant duet with BB King in an alternate universe.

Although she lacks the gutsy and unfettered emotion of an Etta James on material such as the earthy Truth! (driven by the sub-Hendrix guitar of Robben Ford and Hammond playing of Jim Dickinson) or the gravitas of Mavis Staples on the really deep blues-gospel, these may still be early days and that kind of emotional well to draw from is certainly there.

This won't be the best album Foster makes in her career, but she is certainly one to listen out for and my guess she would be exceptional live.

In that regard, she will be in Australia in April, so let's hope Bibb (who plays here very soon) gives us a good report card and some courageous promoter picks her up.

Across cut glass as they say.

 

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