On this disc Ruthie Foster explores the Soul Music of the 50s, 60s, and 70s with some of the Memphis musicians that were in on its creation; those such as the legendary Jim Dickinson who has helmed sessions by Aretha Franklin, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins among others and played on many more seminal Memphis Sound recordings, Robben Ford who has played with Charlie Musselwhite and Jimmy Witherspoon, and Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns to name but a few of those whose help she enlisted in this venture. Ruthie who, when playing alone, her own fusion of Gospel, Soul and Funkie Folk, has had audiences up and dancing their backsides off and screaming for more when she pauses to take a break after two hours. This woman with a voice so big and expressive that she makes herself into a band that lifts the roof off.
The main ingredients of Soul are a combining of Gospel music with R & B and then the two most important elements are the Love of the music and the ability to sing from the heart with a conviction that leaves no doubt. Ruthie has this rare combination like few others. When you think of great music in this vein some of the names that leap to mind are Ray Charles, Aretha, Sam Cooke, Solomon Burke and Howard Tate; with this disc you can put Ruthie's name right there. She wrote 5 of the 11 tunes on the disc and paid careful attention to the covers, including mixing a reggae beat in with the Memphis touch. With musicians like Robben Ford on guitar, Jim Dickinson on Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer electric piano and piano, Larry Fulcher on bass, Rock Deadrick on drums and tambourine, and the horns lead by Wayne Jackson it would be hard to go wrong. Then there is her voice and the clear and heart felt singing that goes straight to your heart. Give a listen to Patty Griffin's When It Don't Come Easy, you can feel the angst and pain of the song that are in the singer. A beautiful acoustic lead in to Joy On The Other Side, and then the title of the next cut perfectly fits the song and the singing perfectly, Tears of Pain. Overall this is a stunning piece of work. The Truth According To Ruthie Foster comes close to capturing the essence of this amazing woman, however don't ever pass up a chance to see her live no matter if it is solo or with some accompaniment as she simply dazzles the senses; her smile lights up the room only to be eclipsed by her vibrant energy that is powered by her voice.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles