Friday, December 16, 2011


the reports sound bad. her condition is "terminal." apparently, there are some issues about her care(her two sons want her in the hospital, while it seems like she's in hospice care)but when she goes, she leaves chuck berry as the last living chess artist. if you think those chess recordings of hers were the last time she rocked or was relevant, check out her newest album, the dreamer, released just last month. christ, she moved me w/her version of a guns & roses' song. THAT is an artist.

this song was & still is electrifying. those horns just propel the song but it's her voice that closes the deal. the full range of her vocal textures reveal themselves as she importunes her way-ward lover to relieve himself of his burdens & offers to take them on herself. how could anyone resist?

i heard this song for the first time done by marcia ball at the maple leaf bar in new orleans eons ago. i remember being utterly floored by the simple but stunningly radical admission the singer makes. now THAT is love!, i thought to myself. i stuck w/marcia's version for a long time, mainly because of the fond memories of the maple leaf, nan, steph & joe & how astonished i was by the desperate kind of love the song invokes. ms. ball would be the first to acknowledge the superiority of ms. james' version.

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