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Bitter Sweet Blues

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
Put two bold blues women together in a recording studio and the result might easily be BITTER SWEET BLUES. Produced by singer/guitarist Rory Block, who also plays on the set, multi-instrumentalist and singer Gaye Adegbalola's first outing without her band, Saffire, is a blend of her clever originals and classic cuts from Smokey Robinson, Bessie Smith, Keb' 'Mo, and Nina Simone. Saffire is known for its women-oriented repetoire, and Adegbalola continues that mission in three solid originals; the bossy "Big Ovaries, Baby," the domestic violence anthem "You Don't Have to Take It (Like I Did)," and an old timey-swing tune about how hard it is to leave a bad relationship, ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
Put two bold blues women together in a recording studio and the result might easily be BITTER SWEET BLUES. Produced by singer/guitarist Rory Block, who also plays on the set, multi-instrumentalist and singer Gaye Adegbalola's first outing without her band, Saffire, is a blend of her clever originals and classic cuts from Smokey Robinson, Bessie Smith, Keb' 'Mo, and Nina Simone. Saffire is known for its women-oriented repetoire, and Adegbalola continues that mission in three solid originals; the bossy "Big Ovaries, Baby," the domestic violence anthem "You Don't Have to Take It (Like I Did)," and an old timey-swing tune about how hard it is to leave a bad relationship, "Front Door Blues." For "Prove It On Me Blues" and "Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl" Adegbalola stays true to the early blues recordings of the tunes, but she revamps Bessie Smith's "Jail House Blues" by making it sound like a chain gang refrain with nothing but a funereal beat and background singers. While BITTER SWEET BLUES runs the gamut from vocal chants to stomping rock, Adegbalola's powerful voice and extensive knowledge of blues styles gives the recording coherence.
All Music Guide - Stacia Proefrock
With Bitter Sweet Blues, Gaye Adegbalola has produced an album that starts off where her work with Saffire the Uppity Blues Women left off, and jumps into a new, adventurous space. An expanded cast of musicians and more personal lyrics are some of the benefits to going solo, and Adegbalola makes use of both well. Each song has either humor or power, sometimes both. The only thing that seems incongruous is the mixture of songs with wildly varying moods and topics. While satirical woman-power songs like "Big Ovaries" are empowering and funny, when paired with "Nightmare" -- a powerful, personal song about child molestation -- the effect is somewhat gross. The feminist politics of both songs mesh rather well, but it is difficult for the listener to shift from laughing at bawdy sexuality to somber empathy in just a few tracks. Overall, though, this is a fine first solo effort that resonates with spirit and emotion.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/12/1999
  • Label: Alligator Records
  • UPC: 014551487029
  • Catalog Number: 514870
  • Sales rank: 7,913

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Gaye Adegbalola Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals, Background Vocals
Rory Block Acoustic Guitar, Background Vocals
Warren Bernhardt Piano
Tom Principato Electric Guitar
Ysaye Barnwell Background Vocals
Carl Adami Bass
Mike DeMicco Electric Guitar
Jerry Marotta Percussion
Peter O'Brien Drums
Jordan Block Valdina Piano, Keyboards
Randy Mattson Bass
Clyde Connor Drums
Resa Gibbs Background Vocals
Juno Pitchford Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Rory Block Producer
Gaye Adegbalola Liner Notes, Mastering
Bruce Iglauer Executive Producer, Mastering
Eric Lemley Engineer
Jeff Hillman Mastering
Roman Klun Engineer
Rob Macomber Engineer
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