Etta James "I'd Rather Go Blind" (live 1992)
As part of the ongoing Amoeblog series honoring Women's History Month (Which ends today, March 31st), this blog is the second part of the two celebrating women blues artists. The first, earlier this week, focused on women from the classic blues era (circa 1920s), while this one takes a look/listen at women blues artists spanning the decades since.
Koko Taylor "Blues Never Die" (1975)
Big Mama Thornton "Bumble Bee Blues" (with Muddy Waters Band, 1966)
"When you in trouble blues is a girl's best friend" sings Koko Taylor on her 1975 recording of "Blues Never Die" (audio above). Taylor, like many of the longtime blues women here (including Big Mama Thornton, whose track "Bumble Bee Blues" with Muddy Waters Band is also above) have also been categorized over the years as rhythm and blues, rock & roll, and jazz. The late great Etta James, who we lost just two months ago, is an example of a blues artist who was also classified as jazz, rhythm & blues, rock n roll, and gospel too. A 1992 concert version of her singing "I'd Rather Go Blind" - written by Ellington Jordan and co-credited to Billy Foster but first recorded by Etta James in 1968 - appears above. As we know, the moving song has in the years since become a standard for countless artists to cover.
Irma Thomas "Sufferin' With The Blues" (1964)
Maria Muldaur "Richland Woman Blues" (2001)
Above, with guitar accompaniment from John Sebastian, is NYC-born, longtime Bay Area resident Maria Muldaur doing "Richland Woman Blues." Coincidentally Muldaur, who has long been an ambassador of the blues, plays a big show in honor of both blues and jazz tonight at the Lark Theater in Larkspur that is appropriately entitled "Blues and All That Jazz" 8pm. Tix are still available here.
In a clip below Janis Joplin, in her first public performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, covers Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain." Oakland based Lady Bianca, who was named "queen of the blues" in recent times, appears below in a 2009 hometown concert at Yoshi's. Other women blues artists included here are Katie Webster in concert in Italy eight years ago, Deborah Coleman doing the crowd favorite "I'm A Woman" from a concert in Madrid three years ago, and Zakiya Hooker (the daughter of John Lee Hooker) live at Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco few years ago.
Katie Webster "Two Fisted Mama" (2004, live in Verona, Italy)
Deborah Coleman "I'm A Woman" (Live in Madrid, Spain 2009)
Zakiya Hooker live at Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco (2009)
Janis Joplin "Ball and Chain" (1967 live at Monterey Pop)
Lady Bianca "Heartbreak Hotel" (live at Yoshi's Oakland, 2009)