Tracy Nelson shines on "Victim of the Blues" (w/video)
Tracy Nelson shines on "Victim of the Blues"
April 19, 2011
I've been a fan of Tracy Nelson's singing for a long time. Her lusty vocals are soulful, bluesy, churchy, and still full of passion and power at 66.
She's been recording since 1964 (Charlie Musselwhite was the harp player), and her latest album, "Victim of the Blues" (Delta Groove) finds Nelson revisiting the sounds that lead the Wisconsin native to the blues, just as Musselwhite led a young Nelson through the blues clubs of Chicago, and then from Filmore to Nashville.
Nelson says in her liner notes that after doing some recent blues tours and festivals, the blues she was hearing weren't very much like the music that had inspired her. "Victim of the Blues," out today, is the result.
It's a set of classic material that gives Nelson's considerable pipes a workout, from the title track -- a Ma Rainey song -- through songs by Willie Dixon (Howlin' Wolf's "You'll Be Mine"), Jimmy Reed ("Shoot My Baby"), Muddy Waters ("One More Mile") plus other fine stuff by Irma Thomas, Percy Mayfield and Sam Hopkins.
She gave an interview to NPR recently in which she talks about her life and career, and it's worth a read.
This album was salvaged from a fire at her Tennessee home and studio last year, and its title says as much about her perseverance as it does her 40 years of making great music.
Nelson's musical styles and tastes have varied over the years, but it's a pleasure to hear her focus on the music that first moved her, and it's a pleasure to hear songs sung with her great voice. It's great to hear someone who just wants to sing some pure blues.
I had a hard time finding a current live video, but here's one that looks fairly recen