Blues Alive 76
In this album you tackled a standard song whose most known version is that of Eric Burdon and Animals, THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN. Many artists have done many versions of this song. How did you come to your beautiful arrangement of this song?
Roxy: I sang this song decades
ago when it was first released by Eric Burden. A producer invited
me and my long-time guitarist, Matt Baxter, to do our version of it
on a compilation album of public domain songs, several years ago.
We did a unique acoustic version of the song on the album entitled
PUBLIC DOMAIN (Purchase Records). I then put it in my live show, and
the song evolved further with my then guitarist, Tim DeHuff. Tim is
a master of passing chords, which he used to make the song even more
special, and most importantly, instilling the song with our own, unique
sound. Our version of HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN was so well received
by my live audience that when I started to record BACK IN BLUESVILLE,
I knew I had to include it as the CD’s cover tune. I include
a cover song on all my CDs. I believe the covers give listeners a
reference point from which, by comparison with my original material,
they can have a better understanding of my compositional ideas.
As a genre, the Blues must evolve to honor
the very definition and Tradition of Blues. The Blues is about an
individual’s truth. For a song to be true with respect to the
Tradition of Blues, the song’s subject and lyrics should reflect
the artist’s life stories and time, as well as reflect the contemporary
musical style of the time in which he or she lives.
My goal is to leave a worthy legacy of
Blues recordings behind that will hopefully inspire another generation
to continue in the Tradition of Blues and its evolution. Keeping in
mind that recorded work lives on long after we are gone from this
world, I execute every detail of my songs to reflect the best I have
to offer, with the hope they will withstand the test of time.
Matt Baxter, who played guitar and dobro, co-wrote, co-produced NEW YORK BLUES QUEEN in it's entirety with me and appeared on the Delta tracks on my two following CDs, BACK IN BLUESVILLE and IN MY SWEET TIME, has been with me for two decades.
On my remaining CDs, I employed
the talents of various drummers, keyboard players and guitarists,
all of whom I selected according to the demands of the songs. IN MY
SWEET TIME, for instance, has four different guitarists and two different
drummers. Matt Rae is actually a contemporary Country guitarist of
note, and I could not have chosen a better back-up or lead player
for the tracks, ROADMASTER and I’M SO LONESOME I COULD CRY.
Matt is beyond perfect! Guitarist, Hiro Suzuki, also sets the perfect
groove and feel on the title song, IN MY SWEET TIME, and on BLUES
COMES TO CALL. While guitarist, Chris Vitarello’s style leans
towards jazz, he also possesses great versatility, which he demonstrates
on several of the tracks on this album. In short, all the players
are well suited for each position.
BLUES BLAST MAGAZINE
When I try to put my finger on what makes this work special, I think of “release.” Perry and her players are so absolutely sure of themselves and each other, they have mastered the micro-stops, and almost imperceptible note elongations, that go past craft to art. They make the sound, hold it, and then release it when it says what they want it to say, and more than you thought it was going to say. The imagination floods.
Except for Hank William’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” Perry (with a hand from her mates Mike Ventimiglia, Chris Vitarello, and Mat Baxter) did all the writing on In My Sweet Time. For good humored, pissed off women songs her “Goodbye Honey” is great (her relationship diagnosis being, “He did the waltz, I did the tango . . .”). But as much as the opening jazz piano strains of the first song “Bed of Blues” brings you in, this album won me at the end with “Not Bad Enough,” a 1920s Bessie Smith type of piano blues with “authentic” record player “scratch” sounds. The song goes that she died and went to heaven but they didn’t want her there, so she went to hell and the devil told her, “You were bad, but you weren’t bad enough. You were bad, but your strong suit wasn’t sin. You were bad, but you can’t come in.” I would love to hear blues bands across the world trying their hand at this. It is a gracious note, to a fine album. Jurors will surely take Perry seriously when it is time to make 2009 blues award nominations.
As painfully trite as it is to say it,
pay attention to our blues women. They may be our last refuge against
cookie cutter guitar players.
LA HORA DEL BLUES June 2009
DELTA FRANK, BLUES DEEJAY
If you like music steeped in genuine feeling,
this is your woman. If you don’t get any other CD this year…make
sure you get this one. “In My Sweet Time” is truly full
of blues and love, and feeling!
BLUES REVUE MAGAZINE Issue No. 116
IN MY SWEET TIME has twelve original songs
and one cover, Hank Williams Senior’s I'M SO LONESOME I COULD
CRY. We can report that she has brought new life to this song in her
rendition. Her unforgettable Blues style brings the most perfect feeling
possible to this country classic. We do not often see a female Blues
harp player. Roxy's very adept harp playing brings merit to female
harp players who are so rare. This is well exemplified in her harp
solo in this Hank Williams Sr. classic.
IN MY SWEET TIME is the third release
on Roxy's label, BluePerry Hill Records, following NY BLUES QUEEN
and BACK IN BLUESVILLE. Her first Blues release, HI HEEL BLUES, was
on Monad Records. All four are great offerings, but for me, IN MY
SWEET TIME stands out as the best. It's a ''showstopper'' of a disc
by a Blues woman who manages well all related genres and Blues styles
as a vocalist, composer and producer. All the numbers are consistently
well supported by her selection of highly competent musicians, some
of which are credited as co-writers on six of the songs.
Roxy Perry has been dubbed as the New
York Queen of the Blues but her vision is wide-ranging on this new
CD as she works through twelve cuts of blues, jazz, R&B, country
and rock overtones as she notes on the back cover. Overall, Perry’s
vocals are blues-infused despite the genre description.
Roxy Perry, nicknamed the New York Blues Queen, has come home with her third CD. I find myself highly praising this newest CD, as I also did her previous CD Back in Bluesville. It is a lot like a good wine. It gets better with the years. Just like her earlier work, this CD’s sounds are very varied: Jazz, Blues, R& B, Funk, Soul, gospel, Jump-Swing, Country, ballads…
Roxy Perry has a splendid voice which effortlessly manages all these styles. Other than the one cover, a beautiful implementation of the classic Hank Williams Sr.’s I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, it’s all songs of her own production. Those 11 songs are like a neatly swinging blade easily cutting through the woods. Roadmaster, You Cried for Me and Goodbye Honey are similar to the repertoire of Dana Gillespie or Marcia Ball. That Night in Memphis is straight ahead Memphis Soul Music with a bluesy rhythm that is ripe for the Stax catalogue.
Don't You Worry is rocklike R& B
with good guitar work from co-writer Chris Vitarello. There are also
beautiful blues songs: In My Sweet Time - where blues and gospel ensure
the perfect teamwork; Let Me Have My Rest – pure water Country
Blues; and Not Bad Enough – great retro Country Blues song,
including the crackling of an old 78, true to the Bessie Smith, Memphis
Minnie style. Isn’t it time for the New York Blues Queen to
come over to our stage?
Roxy Perry a/k/a NY BLUES QUEEN has just
released her fourth album titled ''IN MY SWEET TIME.' It is a different
and more intimate album than her three previous productions. ''IN
MY SWEET TIME'' oscillates between Funk, Jazz, Blues, Country and
Rockabilly and merits more than one overall description. On one hand,
she has managed to surround herself with the finest NY musicians.
On the other, this album reveals, in 12 titles, all facets of her
This is Roxy Perry's fourth release. I still have Roxy's previous BACK IN BLUESVILLE, which was one of the first strong blues CDs I discussed here at Rootstime. IN MY SWEET TIME is also a self-produced album. As on the prior releases, she plays considerable blues harp on this disc. The title ‘New York Blues Queen’ that she has carried since her debut is sustained. Roxy has what the big blues mamas from the thirties to the fifties own; the power and authenticity of ladies such as Memphis Minnie, Victoria Spivey, Big Mama Thornton. She may not have had the ‘blues life’ of those ladies, but you see a bit of it in her songs. She even succeeds in the classic ‘I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry’ by country music legend Hank Williams. She injects a perfect serving of blues to the song with so much conviction, that it immediately becomes one of the peaks of the CD…
Undoubtedly, by far, the most beautiful song on this CD is ‘Let Me Have My Rest’, with only the dobro accompaniment of Matt Baxter. Roxy's powerful voice and harmonica bring pure blues of absolute top quality. The title song that immediately follows is a slow blues with high gospel quality which lets you hear that Roxy is at home in all markets. No matter if its jazzy ballads, slow blues, rock & roll, swinging or funky blues songs, sensitive harmonica solos, dobro, slide or Memphis style grooves… she has them all to offer. And what's more, everything is top notch. Also very valid is the genuine sound of ‘Not Bad Enough’ that transports (the listener) through effects, such as a crackling 78-monophonic (record track) and old microphone quality, letting you hear that the titles of ‘Blues Mama’ and ‘New York Blues Queen’ are entirely deserved – You imagine yourself back 65 years in time, where you listen to your old trunk record player with discs of the best of the ladies.
Have a "Sweet Time" listening
to this one.
Ms. Roxy Perry knows how to give us some Blues. A long career in the once smoky boites de nuit of NYC’s once thriving blues scene, Roxy knows a thing or two about singing, writing blues, putting together a band and life itself. A simply swanky swinging band backs the verbal honey and phrasing the likes of Bessie Smith on, for example, “Not Bad Enough.” Roxy visits all the precincts of blue from acoustic country a la “Let Me Have My Rest” to sweet low and soul as Marcia Ball gravel rasps through. In My Sweet Time with its modern urban Blues, R&B and funky ‘tude shows Perry’s sure command of the genre and a virtuousic ability to bend your soul with her lush, smokily sensual pipes. This lady surely does the blues right and this disk is easily a “must have.” Quality, talent and chops-what else does a gal need?
| BACK IN BLUESVILLE
|House of Blues
Broadcast August 6 & 7, 2005
"Crooked Path" was chosen as their
"Blues Breaker" of the week.
Click to play clip
(Real Audio Player Required)
|King Biscuit Time
Broadcast May 26, 2005
KFFA 1360 AM with Sunshine Sonny Payne
out of Helena, Arkansas.
Click to play clip
(Real Audio Player required)
Blues Matters Magazine
Back In Bluesville
Blue Perry Hill
This album won an award in the USA for the best independently produced CD at International Blues Challenge and on listening they certainly made the right decision! This is a very polished CD and Roxy Perry has a blues voice made in heaven, besides this she also plays harmonica and has written or co-written all but one track here. There are some exceptional strong songs on this CD, the title track "Back in Bluesville" highlights Roxy's strong soulful voice, which commands attention, even though there is a full band sound behind her. A similar sound can be heard on "Midnight Train" although on this occasion the pace is slower and Roxy plays some sensitive blues harp. Roxy is also comfortable on the less powerful numbers, like the Country blues flavoured "Crooked Path" and brass backed "Nothing Like you" which has a nice 30's swing Chicago feel. The only cover on the album is the seminal "House of the Rising Son", which starts with a nice harmonica solo before the Roxy's vocal kicks in and drives the song forward, with some stinging solos from Dave Fields. Highly recommended!
New York Blues Queen Increases Reign
BluesWax - 01/11/06
What do you want in a great contemporary Blues album? Perhaps you want moody harmonica; guitars - electric and resophonic Dobro guitar styles - slide; stinging lead; soaring, soulful, Blues-Rock; impressive female torch vocals; full-band arrangements replete with horns (sax, trombone, muted trumpet); clever turn-of-phrase lyrics; rippling or pounding piano; Booker T organ; a dollop of Dixieland Jazz; some fun big band-style Swing; and original songs. Well, that is a pretty tall order for one CD. Here is the good news: Roxy Perry's third self-released album, Back in Bluesville, has it all, and all done tastefully!
Hailing from the New York/New Jersey area, Perry has somehow acquired the title "New York Blues Queen." That sets the bar high, but this album will convince listeners that she rocks and reigns.
Appearing on Back In Bluesville, beside Roxy on vocals and harmonica, are adept locals Dave Fields (guitar, all keyboards, and full production), Tim DeHuff (guitar), Eric Merovitch (sax), Linda Geiger (drums), and her husband Bob Fusco (bass). Also appearing are guests Matt Baxter (Dobro) and Bill Holloman (horns).
The title song, Roxy Perry's big-bang first ballad, will make listeners clear a spot for it in their list of favorite songs for 2005! The style is full-ensemble Blues as opposed to only drums, vocals, and guitar. She's got those three in this song, plus piano and a hot horn section. Roxy employs a clever metaphor here that highlights the type of abuse the protagonist has endured: "Each white line on the road underscores the name of men I've known." "Back in Bluesville" packs a powerful punch. Listeners will go to that sensationally sad city with her for a four-minute vacation!
Best use of metaphor is found in the second song, "Whole Dog." Roxy has got the goods and is willing to share, but not until she gets full commitment. "I need a love that's gonna last," she sings. "I need the whole dog/I'm not gonna be satisfied with just a little piece of tail!"
During "Two Left Feet" Boogie purists will perk up when they hear this song, reminiscent of big-band Swing. It's great fun for those of us who embrace multiple styles of tempo in our definition of the Blues. "Two Left Feet" is about a dude who can't dance and doesn't know it. The best part of this song is when Roxy Perry and her backup-vocal boys try to guess what moves this "dancing fool" who "thinks he's cool" is doing. "Is it the Hustle?" Roxy asks. "No, no, no, no!" moan the males. "Is it the Swim?" "No, no, no, no!" Even if listeners happen to have "Two Left Feet" themselves, they'll have to dance to this one!
"Crooked Path" will make Dobro fans rejoice as it provides some down-home Blues and one might imagine the Louisiana bayou on a warm summer night when listening to it. The not-so-straight-and-narrow road in the title did not lead Perry's narrator to a life of crime or eternal damnation, but back to her old flame. "So many times I've watched the sun go down, and then I wonder why I watch it all alone." She says to her former lover, "It's strange what we put ourselves through." One gets the sense that she regrets walking this "Crooked Path," but only halfway: "All the while I knew the truth!"
The liner notes reveal that, "this album was created with the intention of exploring both modern and traditional Blues styles to their limits." For example, how about a little Dixieland Jazz on "Nothing Like You." It starts out with jazzy piano then adds the brass horns backing Perry's soft vocals. By mid-song, hotly-picked guitar has you marching down Bourbon Street.
Eric Burdon and the Animals made the traditional song "House of the Rising Sun" famous, but Roxy's cover provides a pleasant re-introduction to it. The "House" (of the Rising Sun) is one of negotiable affections and as Roxy reveals in her version, it's "the ruin of many a poor girl, and, God, I know I'm one." Sung by a female, the lyrics provide an entirely different perspective on the song. "I've got to wear that ball and chain" might refer to working at the House, in her case, rather than being a client. You can hear the weary resignation in Roxy's voice and mournful harp.
This is great music; allow Roxy to reign the Blues down on you.
James Walker is a contributing editor at BluesWax
"BACK IN BLUESVILLE"
Blueperry Hill Records
Being the "New York Blues Queen" - a title Roxy Perry either adopted or accepted on her 1998 album of the same name – might not be the hardest distinction to claim. But this leather-clad vocalist has the kind of voice and delivery that could save her throne if Gotham did suddenly get flooded with distaff blues singers; her sound is full, smoky, dark, wise, worldly, and genuine. Most modern "blues queens" are cartoonish parodies of the big blooze mama archetype, but listen to "Midnight Train," which shares more than a word of its title with Patsy Clines's "Walking After Midnight" – like Cline, Perry sounds simultaneously resigned and determined, as if sultry laments were at once a vindication of her struggle and her sexuality. Listen with the corner of your ear, and it sounds as if she's packing up and leaving town; listen with your own pain, and it sounds like a suicide note. How many female blues singers still know how to do that?
The brand of blues Perry works on her third album is mostly urban, moody, and polished (It's filled with sax and piano). But she covers a lot of ground inside those parameters, going for big-band on the title track, boogieing on "Two Left Feet," tightening up the funk-rock genre on "Stone in the Sea," and incorporating Booker T.'s "Green Onions" into "Forgive and Forget." Backup comes from a crack band of locals, with Dave Fields and Tim DeHuff's guitar matching her anguish note-for-note.
She has a way with a phrase, too, taking what could be ordinary stories of love among the barflies and selling them with a clever and utterly honest turn of phrase: She's looking for the "Whole Dog," you understand, "not just a piece of tail." Seldom has the cherished female trophy of commitment sounded so sexy. Perry's voice is just that impressive; it's a rough yet feminine wonder that attempts to carry the tradition of prewar torch singing into the modern age. There might not be a lot of call for that in New York - or, sadly, anywhere else these days – but Back in Bluesville offers evidence that, whatever the scene is like, she's earned her crown.
Blues Revue Magazine
Issue No. 96 OCT/NOV 2005
Back in Bluesville
By Dorothy L. Hill
Jazz Now Magazine
Roxy Perry, vocals and harp; Dave Fields, guitar and keyboards; Tim DeHuff, guitar; Eric Merovitch, saxophone; Bob Fusco, bass; Linda Geiger, drums; Matt Baxter, dobro; Bill Holloman, horns.
Roxy Perry, widely heralded as the NY blues queen, has now completed her third CD. An accomplished composer, she wrote ten of the eleven tunes, and her lyrics speak to the constant search for meaning. The original tunes on this effort cover a diverse range of subjects and emotions.
The title cut of interprets the travails on the blues road, which always bring her back to Bluesville. Perry's satiny vocals caress the ballad "Midnight Train" with polished emotion on lyrics that relate to an abusive relationship. On "Crooked Path," Baxter's splendid slide guitar displays a Delta blues influence on this upbeat lament. "Nothing like You" has a Jazz-influenced Dixieland rhythm on Perry's sultry vocals. A humorous vocal take on "Two Left Feet" is delightful on this jump blues tune. "Stone in the Sea" is a light rock adventure with tasteful guitar support. "Forgive and Forget" is bluesy number with a vibrant vocal rendering. The cover of "House of the Rising Sun" features a soulful Perry on harmonica and smoldering vocals in a delightful arrangement of this traditional tune.
This CD is resplendent with original material sensitively
rendered with taste by the formidable band members. Roxy Perry has an
alluring voice which she uses to great effect. This is a good one that
goes beyond the blues!
"BACK IN BLUESVILLE"
BY PETER "BLEWZZMAN" LAURO / COPYRIGHT JUNE 2005
So Roxy Perry, as her new CD states, is "BACK IN BLUESVILLE". That's cool, but as far as I'm concerned she never left. The blues live in Roxy and Roxy lives in Bluesville. Although I live over fifteen hundred miles from the local joints that Roxy regularly rocks, I've had the pleasure of seeing her perform several times and this is the second of her CDs that I now find myself writing wonderful things about. All of these events were nothing but downright blues experiences.
The players on "BACK IN BLUESVILLE" are ROXY PERRY, of course, on vocals, harmonica and magnetism; DAVE FIELDS, guitar and keyboards; TIM DEHUFF, guitar; ERIC MEROVITCH, sax; LINDA GEIGER, drums; And the love of ROXY'S life, her husband of 31 years, BOB FUSCO on bass. Also appearing on some tracks as guests were MATT BAXTER, dobro and BILL HOLLOMAN, horns.
Ten of the eleven tracks on "BACK IN BLUESVILLE" are originals. The solo cover being, with all due respect to Eric Burden & The Animals, one of the better versions of "HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN" that these ears have ever heard. ROXY'S soulful vocals and sharp harp playing along with DAVE'S help on guitar make this one of the discs highlights.
The title track, "BACK IN BLUESVILLE" is quintessential ROXY PERRY. This one is full of her usual powerful and commanding vocals. Obviously fiction, ROXY carries the torch of all her abusing ex-lovers on this blues scorcher. DAVE adds to the heat with lots of burning blues licks on guitar.
"MIDNIGHT TRAIN" is a slow bluesy number about what those abusive ex-lovers led ROXY to - a midnight train to take her far away and outta the blues. Her sultry singing and smooth harp playing with some very nicely done harmonious finger snapping highlight this one.
If you like an occasional dose of Dixie Land Jazz, then you'll love "NOTHING LIKE YOU". It starts out with lots of soft jazzy horns then switches over to some hot banjo sounding guitar picking. The horns again kick in and before you know it you'll think your listening to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. As well as being different, this one was quite interesting.
"TWO LEFT FEET" is another hot one. This one really jumps and swings. It's about a dancing fool with absolutely no rhythm but lots of blues. There's no question the band had a good time recording this one. In addition to some great background vocals, ROXY and DAVE rip it up on harp and piano on this, which is absolutely impossible to sit still to.
ROXY explains "BACK IN BLUESVILLE" as a product that was "created with the intention of exploring both modern and traditional blues styles to their limits". My response to that is "mission accomplished". Blues is done in many fashions on this project. The versatility ranges from some standard ballads to scorching burners, from a few rockers to rootsy acoustics and a dose of Dixie.
Nice going ROX - the "New York Blues Queen" has struck again.
ROXY PERRY - Back
CD Review by Bob Unger
The powerful horns on the opening track of this CD roll in like thunder and the rich guitar work generates an electricity that sets the listener up for an unforgettable trip. "Back in Bluesville" is a powerful blues allegory with Roxy’s rich vocals leading us down the road she's been on many, many times before - the road that always leads her back to Bluesville.
This is a superb opening for a long awaited CD, which takes us down many paths in various moods and styles. Roxy's a gutsy and powerful vocalist and her lyrics are as ear catching and clever as ever.
In the horn driven "Whole Dog" Roxy lays it on the line to her lover, proclaiming she's the real deal and he better not fail - She wants the Whole Dog, not just a piece of tail. Roxy's commanding vocals and Eric Merovitch's powerful horns are solid and tight and give this tune its punch.
The rock-oriented "Stone in the Sea" displays Dave Fields' masterful guitar work, as Roxy displays her vulnerable side singing about a Svengali-like relationship wherein she goes down like a Stone in the Sea at his every move and intention.
"Midnight Train" could be Roxy's darkest, yet most determined lyrics yet. The Midnight Train calls her to pack up and leave an abusive relationship. The soundtrack is not what you would expect in a song of this nature as it plays a slow, determined, yet almost upbeat verve. Roxy's voice is subtle when she sings "Tonight's the night my pain will end and you'll never raise a hand to me again," yet you feel the underlying strength and persistence in it.
Switching to an upbeat gear, everyone will know the guy Roxy is singing about in the jiving "Two Left Feet". Whether you play in a band or go out to hear one, there's always that guy out there on the dance floor, screaming for more and doing the absolute worst dance routine humanly possible. As Roxy states "He's gotta be my biggest fan. He's at every gig I land!"
The opening notes to "Get It" bring to mind the Mills Brothers classic "Opus One,"but then Roxy chimes in and brings this jumpy number around her way. It's a fun tune with Roxy cautioning, "You better get it while I still got it."
Against the backdrop of a Booker T-style riff, the keyboard driven "Forgive and Forget"tells of being "Lied to and cheated, Wronged and mistreated." Dave Fields' keyboard and Tim DeHuff's guitar work keep the tune flowing as Roxy laments how she can't just Forgive and Forget.
The lightly funky/rockish “Do It” has Roxy letting it all out by telling her long time admirer to stop playing around and just "Do It". A funky-choppy guitar underscores Roxy's frustration and her harp solo fits well into this lighter track.
Matt Baxter, Roxy's collaborator on her previous CD, "Roxy Perry - New York Blues Queen," makes a special appearance playing dobro on the one tune he and Roxy wrote together for the CD, "Crooked Path." Baxter displays his superb slide-playing skills on this Delta-style burner with Roxy's harp and vocals lamenting "It's a wonder what life puts us through - and it's that crooked path that led me back to you."
Also featured on the CD is celebrated multi-musician Bill Holloman who is credited with "All Horns" on the one tune he plays on the big easy, jazzy New Orleans inflected swing number "Nothing Like You." Here Roxy boasts to her new lover's ex, "No headaches do I fake. We got hot loving every night – thanks to your mistakes."
The CD's only cover song is the traditional "House of the Rising Sun." This song previously appeared on the 2002 Grammynominated compilation CD "Public Domain" [Purchase Records] "It sounds nothing like anybody else's version. I can almost throw a copyright on it for the arrangement," Perry said. A haunting harp and guitar compliment the song behind Roxy's emotional parable.
This is Roxy Perry's third CD and all the players are here in full force. Bob Fusco on bass and Linda Geiger on drums lay down the backbone as the canvas for all the colors of this journey. Eric Merovitch's thundering horns open the CD and in particular are the driving force behind "Whole Dog," and he keeps it right and tight throughout the CD. Guitarist Tim DeHuff’s tasteful style appears on three tracks complimenting Roxy's colorful vocals. Dave Fields' guitar and keyboard work follow Roxy down every street of Bluesville.
Roxy Perry has a lot to say on Bluesville, covering the many moods of her personality; witty and jazzy to pensive and determined but always up front giving you the full strength of her enormous talent. While the CD's foundation is in the blues, the tracks touch on rock, jazz, and even a bit of country. According to the liner notes, Roxy proclaims, "This album was created with the intention of exploring both modern and traditional blues styles to their limits, as we do in our live show." They have succeeded in their intentions.
Back in Bluesville is currently available on CDBaby.com
ROXY PERRY - Back in Bluesville
Twenty three past two on a rainy Saturday night/Sunday morning . . . I'm just back from an evening of Bensen-Scott Big Band jazz . . . a musical organization that gives relevance to that old "stone cold gas" chestnut. We're talkin' big, bold and sassy brass interpretations of Ellington, Jimmy Van Heusen . . . "Here's To That Rainy Day," Hoagy Charmichael and all that marvelous, sophisticated, and just plain cool jazz.
Yeah, Gene Bensen, Regent Scott and the fourteen, fifteen, sixteen other cats just spent a few hours of their lifetime creating the sounds that had pretty women in their sexy summer dresses, and the dapper and lucky cats they were with, dancing through the moon lit rain. Just sensational! My suggestion is to log onto www.bsbb.us and place your order for their latest CD "Dreams Do Come True." You won't regret it.
So now its time to say goodnight, but I see there's this parcel that arrived in the post and it begs to be opened because the return address belongs to the one and only Ms. Roxy Perry. This can't wait till daybreak.
And so I open it to find a new CD and there she is, the beautiful brown-eyed girl Van Morrison still sings about on satellite radio.
What's one to do at twenty to three? Find the Discman, man! And so I do and remove the japa meditation disc and insert the new one. Headphones on and away we go: Instantly we're hit with the second big band sound of the evening, this time it's a wall of blues, a sound as thick as a teenagers belligerent head . . . and we learn that Roxy's been down this road many times in the past, well hey, you know, they say three times a charm and this is the lady's third solo CD, okay? You got a Memphis kind of organ thing riffing off the piano, guitar and Eric Merovitch's horns . . . and the queen informs us that she's "Back In Bluesville" stayin' down on the end of lonely street? Not sure of the exact location, but "you know the hotel there just keeps my room on hold," and that's where this CD is coming from. This opener ends with a Twilight Zone/Raymond Chandler mystery riff that warns . . . experienced blues travelers only . . . all others proceed at your own risk.
"Whole Dog," is next and you better you pay attention 'cause Roxy's running it down for you with vocals as smooth as a floor polished by the deaf dude who lives above you in 6M. We got some tasty sax riffs trading off with some smoldering vocals, and hey, hey, hey, this is some second helping, we still got nine more slices to go. Whose idea was it to order the extra jalapenos? Tasty, with a kick of Bob Fusco's bass, like the Times Square shuttle, sneakin' under the whole thing. I mean, you know it's there even when you don't know it's there, but he'll get you over to 42nd Street in time to catch Solomon Burke at BB Kings. Reliable, you can count on Bobby and the Queen, she knows all about that. Why do you think she's laughin' at the end of the cut?
And this "Midnight Train" through Bluesville doesn't just stop at BB's. Oh no, we can go back in time as well, and on cut three, I mean, it's 1950 and Peggy Lee is intoxicated down on Bourbon Street, you dig? Go on ask, what is this man saying now? But get that rock dream fixed in your head and please don't misunderstand, that's not Roxy, she's as together as she's ever been, but we got proof positive that Mr. Zimmerman and U2 don't own the Daniel Lanois sound. Oh mercy, he wasn't even in Bluesville on the nights all this went down. Yeah, there's the haunting sound of her harp and some underscored Spector-inspired multi-finger snapping over the light and tight honky tonk piano and guitar . . . both cutting through some thick swamp fog . . . all under and not fighting, at peace actually, with the Queen's laid back smooth and oozing vocals . . . proving less is more and that there ain't a style she can't sing. Last stop; please check the overhead rack for your personal belongings.
So after what was left of the moonshine and a few hours sleep on a sleepy dusty delta dawn we find ourselves on the front porch, and it's not even noon yet, and 96 humid degrees. So what's a poor girl to do 'cept walk down that "Crooked Path." I mean half the horn section went to town looking for what they need and the rest of the boys are out back drinkin' peach wine and eatin' tatar salad . . . hey, every young man needs some recreation, you dig? But the Queen's just hangin' with Matt Baxter and his Dobro, and letting you know, hey, you may have enjoyed the first three tunes, and don't get me wrong, I'm delighted you did, but I don't really need that big old thick wall of blues thing to put over what lies under my agenda. I can sit on an old country porch in the heat and blend in with the folks, but don't for a second forget that I am royalty, you know? So let's just sit a spell and pick a bit.
At this point, my friends I will say that "Crooked Path' is the cut.
You know every movie has that scene or that line, and the sign of a great CD is that cut. The one, you know, one could argue that it's all subjective, but that argument in itself is, you see? So to you, it's that one and to him it's the other, and that guy over there, the one with the two left feet, I mean that poor bastard isn't even listening to the same record. I mean, he's still back in the 70's figuring' how he's gonna beat Ticketmaster tomorrow morning at 9 and score some McCartney tickets, alright? Nothin' wrong with that, see? Even if he ends up buyin' 'em on eBay. Cool, get it done, right? But the thing is, what I really mean is reality is all there is, only our individual interpretations of it differs. That said, "Crooked Path" blows me away and is worth the price of admission, we're talking a small slice of 100% pure purity and we're here in 2005. It's worth a major celebration to learn it still exists. What a cut!
And there's a lot more! On "Nothing Like You" you got a woman talking truthful trash in the key of Dixieland on a riverboat with Pete Fountain when he was just a kid. Roxy nails the last line, the "I ain't nu uh thin like you." Made me smile.
Need a little boogie? There's "Two Left Feet," a little 1946 Louie Jordan -zoot suite jive. Why not? And if you've just come of age and are just havin' your first taste . . . welcome children, it's always new for someone and today's your lucky day.
Next she's goin' down, down, down like a "Stone In The Sea," and time is tight so you best get the hell out of her way because there's nothing more dangerous that a blues woman in lust. The guitar work shines on this one, but just like on every other cut, it's totally imaginative and smooth as the rough surface of a starfish - vocals that drip all over your headphones like hot fudge on cherry vanilla ice cream.
On "Get It" we've got some hot rod Lincoln guitar blazing under her breezy harp playing just seconds before she wails "tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow," who the hell knows about that, you understand? So the queen suggests, in no uncertain terms, that you get it before it goes." Who can argue?
"Forgive and Forget" is next and we welcome Booker T and The MG's, special mystery guest stars here for sure. Unless, Roxy's band . . . Dave Fields, Tim DeHuff, Eric Merovitch, Linda Geiger, and Bob Fusco duplicated The MG's patented sound. And hey, with no offense intended, that's an impossibility, right? So here's to the mystery guests who must be playing without credit due to some type of legal mumbo jumbo. It don't matter anyway because this tribute to the Stax Volt sound is just another way of underscoring and presenting the sugar in the tea vocal styling of the queen who swears she was good, and hey, that's all you need to know.
Next Ms. Perry demands that you "Do It." And if you can't understand what she's laying down here, well get up and just do it over there. I mean, if this song was a book it could be called "Blues For Dummies" because it's a straight out no holds bared invitation to just get on with it, you know, or else . . . later and enough . . . and it had to be said so that's it.
And somehow our trip through Bluesville ends up at "The House of the Rising Sun." Doesn't it always? I mean, come on, if we're really going to be honest and adults about all this you have to admit, that one way or another we always end up here even if it's just for a road runner. Dylan got here first on his debut LP, and, of course Eric Burdon brought the joint to the attention of the masses with the aid of some good old fashioned mid-60's payola and the then flourishing Top 40 format.
I remember one time when I was in New Orleans riding around in the back of a horse drawn carriage and the ebony dude who was showing us around took us to this place and explained that this was where fathers brought their sons to lose their virginity, and hence it was called The House of the Rising Son (Delta humor you see) and now it's like a few years later, and here's Roxy Perry doin' the tune. Could anything be more perfect? Only CD #4 as a collection of all authentic, public domain blues classics, but we're getting way ahead of ourselves here. Right now you have the opportunity to hear Roxy Perry singing "The House of the Rising Sun," a cut that on its own, makes 2005 a great year.
There's no more music, just another great photo of Ms. Perry on the back looking all pretty and peaceful and cool and so, you know, I got mine, and you all should get your own.
I gotta call this night a day, so see you in my dreams.
Judges for the Final Round were RANDY CHORTKOFF (Delta Groove Productions), BRUCE IGLAUER (Alligator Records), FRED LITWIN (NorthernBlues Records), MICHAEL POWERS (Yellow Dog Records), and RICHARD ROSENBLATT (Tone Cool Records).
Accepting the award on behalf of her band, Roxy acknowledged the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation for its nomination of BACK IN BLUESVILLE, and expressed her appreciation for the honor and recognition received from the Blues Foundation and the blues community at large.
As she left the New Daisy Theater Roxy declared, “I’m so happy that the talent, creativity, love and care that went into BACK IN BLUESVILLE have been recognized in this very special way by the Blues Foundation! It is truly rewarding to have our music heard and appreciated by the blues community, and it is our hope that our opportunity here in Memphis will expand our audience and get our music out to blues lovers everywhere!”
Review in MazzMuzikaS
Title song, Back In Bluesville is a direct hit. Its a nice slow blues with Dave Fields, its guitarist, producer, arranger and sound engineer, in short indispensable on this disc. Then the voice... I think of Etta James. The funky Whole Dog has everything of a Bonnie Raitt song. Roxy Perry manages all styles, both vocally and instrumentally. Midnight Train is a late night slow tempo blues song in the style of Patsy Cline's Walking After Midnight. Its harmonica work is subtle and to the point. In Crooked Path Matt Baxter's dobro makes for a nice party slide blues. Nothing Like You breaks out from a smoky New Orleans jazz - or blues club. The ambiance for which Bill Holloman is responsible is that of a Billie Holliday... Tipitina's or the Preservation hall jazz club are not far away. Roxy can also shake a strong boogie woogie - Two Left Feet is somewhat in the way of the repertoire of Candye Kane, Marcia Ball or Dana Gillespie. This song, concerning the inevitable dancer with two left feet that you see at many concerts "He's got no rhythm but he sure got the blues." We place Stone in The Sea and Do It under the Funky Blues Rock category. Get It is a strong boogie-rocker, again with Dave Fields on keyboards. He proves be a multi-purpose musician. Forgive And Forget, in which the Memphis soul sound is obviously present, similar to the groove of Booker T's Green Onions, and the classic, House Of The Rising Sun.
I must say that I did not anticipate in the first place a cover played traditionally on this disc, but Roxy succeed to put down a true version. Again her harmonica work is on the mark, as is Dave’s musicianship. A beautiful clincher of very pleasant and varied blues-cdblues-cd blues-cd. Golden Rule of Ome Ben: You can't judge a book by it's cover..