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FAME Review: Teeny Tucker - Keep the Blues Alive
Teeny Tucker - Keep the Blues Alive

Keep the Blues Alive

Teeny Tucker

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Teeny Tucker possesses a very natural tesifyin' shouter's voice alongside a swing sometimes held back and other times roaring, especially in numbers like Make Room for Teeny and the gospelly hip-shakin' title track. She also knows how to put together a ground level band, featuring the lazily hot guitar of Robert Hughes and the very tasty harmonica of David Gastel (also pianist). Tucker's a writer as well, teaming up with Hughes, tending more than once to the John Mayall side of the quill, tributizing elder progenitors, ceding the respect they found all too difficult to achieve in the good ol' bad ol' days when having a black skin was a ticket to oppression not just in society but most damagingly in the business world. Here, she pays back one of her idols, the legendary late John Cephas, by presenting a song titled after him (written, of course, by her) and doing the gent justice and then some.

Nor is Tucker or the band afraid to twist up styles a bit, as the unusual turns in Daughter to the Blues amply demonstrate, calling back to the 70s when experimentation was a form of modal respect intermingled with creativity. I Live Alone likewise reaches kinship with The Nighthawks and the Siegel-Schwall Band, two blues ensembles about whom not enough can be said. Teeny is the daughter of the well known Tommy Hi-Heel Sneakers Tucker, but her music stands more than adequately beside her progenitor. She may or may not at one point have been daddy's girl but is very much her own woman now…with a vengeance.

Oh, and so's ya know, in this age of nepotism and networking, Teeny is no relation to me, though I'm more than happy to share surnames with her and, frankly, just may brag that she's my long-lost sister if enough ears start perking up with tongues a-waggin', which they damn well should. The most striking aspect of the entire CD is Teeny's soulful familiarity with the form. Even when sweatin' 'n shoutin', Miss Tucker is 100% in charge and has been from Day One, when she got a standing ovation in 1994 at the notoriously discerning Apollo. If that ain't destiny, I don't know that the hell is.

Track List:

  • Ain't That the Blues (Tucker / Hughes)
  • Make Room for Teeny (Durley / Durley)
  • Daughter to the Blues (Tucker / Hughes)
  • Old Man Magnet (Tucker / Hughes)
  • I Wish We Could Go Back (Tucker / Hughes)
  • Keep the Blues Alive (Tucker / Hughes)
  • I Live Alone (Tucker / Blume)
  • John Cephas (Tucker / Hughes)
  • Heartbreak (Thomas / Hoyles)
  • I Got My Mojo Workin' (Preston Foster)
  • Respect Me and the Blues (Tucker / Hughes)

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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