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Old 03-28-2023, 06:14 AM   #741 (permalink)
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I'd like to nom Kidneytheives Zerospace.
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Old 03-28-2023, 08:13 AM   #742 (permalink)
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Okay. DJ has been added, Marie has been removed. Feel free to rejoin at any time Marie, and of course you can comment if you want even without being a member. DJ's album has been added to the queue.
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Old 03-30-2023, 10:35 AM   #743 (permalink)
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Ruthie Foster - Joy Comes Back (2017)



The album is produced really well (you’d think that’s a given coming from 2017, but definitely not always the case) - there’s a very nice separation between all the instruments, the levels sound great, and the bass is always clear and consistently provides a meaty backbone to Ruthie Foster’s soulful professions.

The album opens with a great cover of Chris Stapleton’s first single, “What Are You Listening To?” - a somewhat recent contemporary country tune. I actually think I like this cover better than the original - Ruthie’s excellent vocals put it over the top.

Then comes “Working Woman”. The sound of it is your average blues-rock schlock and the lyrics are abrasively “Yas Queen!” in nature:

She's overtime and underpaid
She's kicking ass and taking names
She's punching that clock, she's climbing that ladder, she's spinning those wheels
She can do your job ten times better and do it in heels

I understand and agree with the general overall sentiment - women should be appreciated, and perhaps appreciated more than they currently are by most men - but this is a little too on the nose for me. Call your local plumber, electrician, or carpenter and see if they show up in heels. Maybe I’m just not the target audience. Oh well.

Title track “Joy Comes Back” is a rather understated piano-led blues chug. It doesn’t leave a big impression, but it’s enjoyable enough.

“Open Sky” is spacious and warm, really gives off that old school soul vibe - and is that vibraphone? That’s lovely…

I am generally not a fan of double vocal tracks, depending obviously on context - but the doubled up vocal tracks on “Good Sailor” add that extra spice that makes the song memorable and joyous. A celebration of overcoming adversity and the character that gives you. "Smooth seas never made a good sailor...". Great tune.

I’m not sure how to feel about the bluesy cover of “War Pigs”. Ruthie puts on a convincing vocal exhibition, but the song has been covered so many times by so many different bands that this cover really doesn’t add much new to it for me. Ruthie sounds closer to Chris Cornell than Ozzy, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever”, a cover of a Nick Kamen tune, picks things back up nicely though - an enjoyable little love song with uhhh, is that bongos? Oh yeah, and I’m a sucker for choral choruses, so that’s a plus too in my book. The little piano solo is great too.

The cover of Mississippi John Hurt’s “Richland Woman Blues” brings us back to an earthy country-blues sound. Love that muted “oooooh yeah” as the guitar starts to twang in isolation a bit over halfway through the song. This cover adds a lot more to the original than the “War Pigs” one I think, but perhaps that’s just because I haven’t heard as many covers of this. Here’s the original for anyone interested, a great song in its own right:

Cock-a-doodle-doo-doo



“Abraham” is a slow burner - decent track - but the intro makes me think of “Everybody Hurts”.

Heartfelt piano number “Forgiven” ends the album off nicely.

Overall, this was a nice enjoyable modern romp in blues, soul and country. It doesn't really do anything that interesting, but it's totally competent in its aim. I’ve never heard of Ruthie Foster before this, but she’s an impressively talented vocalist with a great backing band. I’m definitely going to check out more from her discography. Good pick Trolls.

7/10
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Old 04-05-2023, 08:13 AM   #744 (permalink)
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How have recent albums here been scoring? If you are curious, these results are in, but not yet posted on the front page of the Album Club thread:-

Paul's Boutique: SGR: 7.2 (#650)
Concrete Blonde: rubbersoul: 8.3 (#682)
From Spain To Spain: Lisna: 5.2 (#695)
Living Things : Mindfulness: 5.6 (#710)

(I think a couple of times now Trollheart has gone for the option of reviewing an album, but declining to score it because he doesn't want to offend anyone. That's a very diplomatic course of action, but, partly because our member-base is low enough already, I include that as a vote of zero when I calculate the average score for the album. Please let me know if anyone thinks it should be done differently.)

I'm very sorry to see Marie Monday leave the club as her noms have been some of my favourites here.

Welcome to the club, dj !
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Old 04-06-2023, 05:26 PM   #745 (permalink)
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Ruthie Foster – Joy Comes Back
This album is a collection of soulful blues songs that gave me a nice switch from what I normally listen to. I listen to more every type of music so this album wasn’t that different though too. The “War Pigs” cover of the Black Sabbath song was a great mix into the songs on the album. If I had to explain this album in one word it would be “happy”, it is very uplifting and joyful sounding. I had never heard of this artist before the review also, but will be saving this album for more listens later one in my random shuffle. As I jam to this album it is growing on me how mellow the tunes are, ‘What are you listening to?” is really chill. "Good Sailor" - This track has a laid-back bluesy feel and features some great guitar work. The lyrics encourage listeners to keep going through life's ups and downs and to be a good sailor through it all. "Forgiven" - This ballad has a gospel feel to it and features Foster's vocals accompanied by piano. The lyrics speak to the idea of forgiveness and redemption. "Open Sky" - This song has a folky sound with acoustic guitar and harmonica. The lyrics speak to the idea of finding freedom and inspiration in the wide open sky. Overall, "Joy Comes Back" is a fantastic album that showcases Ruthie Foster's incredible vocal and songwriting abilities. The album has a great mix of blues, soul, and folk sounds, and the lyrics are uplifting and inspiring. This album is a must-listen for fans of blues, soul, and folk music, and anyone in need of a little inspiration and hope.



7.1/10
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Old 04-06-2023, 05:37 PM   #746 (permalink)
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Ruthie Foster – Joy Comes Back

I gave this album a listen this morning and within the first 10 seconds my initial reaction was is this twangy country? I'm not one of those types that claim to "listen to everything except country." I actually like country but the more country bro pop stuff. I just don't listen to it as often as other genres. Die-hard country fans tend to hate that stuff and prefer the more traditional stuff. I didn't even take the time out to think about it and say this veer more into soul/folk than country which it totally does. I have to re-listen to it again when I'm more in a mindset to accept some of the uplifting tracks that were being played before. I would give the album as a whole 6.5 but that may change after my second listen of it which I will do in a few days. None of the tracks really stood out to me imo.
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Old 04-06-2023, 07:23 PM   #747 (permalink)
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I have to listen to it again - only heard it the once - but I really don't recall it having any sort of country element in it. To me, it came across as blues with some soul and maybe a little jazz? I'll come back when I've relistened to it, but it surprises me that you hear country in it. Maybe you're right, but that's not what I remember it as being.
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Old 04-06-2023, 08:14 PM   #748 (permalink)
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First track on the album is a cover of a country song.

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Old 04-10-2023, 09:50 AM   #749 (permalink)
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Joy Comes Back - Ruthie Foster

I came across this album during my ill-fated attempt to listen to every album released in 2017, and I loved it as soon as it began. I had and still have no idea who she is, but I loved every track. I'm told the opener is a cover of a Chris Stapleton song. I did not know this; information on her albums seems very sketchy, even Discogs, which usually has various versions to choose from, has only the one, and it has no songwriting information. Nevertheless, it didn't sound to me like a country song; for some reason it reminded of me of that Marvin Gaye song about MLK... Anyway it's a great start and it certainly showcases her clear pure voice which kind of reminds me maybe of a more restrained Aretha? The pure blues/gospel sass of "Working Woman" is a real anthem for, if not girl power, then woman power. A sort of grittier version lyrically of Donna Summers' "She Works Hard for the Money", then the title track is pure gospel with a country twang on the pedal steel, sort of thing you could hear in any Baptist church. In fact, replace "joy" with "Jesus" and there it is. Love this; the exuberance in the song, its simplicity and honesty.

The honky-tonk organ is great as is the pianner, and you can just see a crowd clapping along and swaying to this as the preacher exorts them to even greater lengths of praise. Joy comes back, indeed. "Open Sky" has a lovely, as others have said, expansive and wide feel, the idea of walking under a big rolling sky, the muted backing vocals here really contribute to the mood of the song, and after "Joy Comes Back" it's very restrained and sedate with "Good Sailor" keeping things fairly low-key with some fine organ and a sense of Tracy Chapman about the song.

Others have remarked on her cover of "War Pigs", and I would agree it's an odd one to tackle: metal bands usually do metal covers, and when they're attempted by artists outside of that genre they can be pretty poor, and to take on the godfathers of metal is either brave or foolish, but either way it seems a very strange choice for an album like this. That much said, it's very much her version, and I think the harmonica stands in very well for Iommi's punching guitar chords, and of course it's sadly a universal theme in the song that unfortunately never loses its message or impact and is always relevant no matter what age you live in. I think she does a good version, but I would still question the wisdom of covering it.

Back to more recognisable fare with "Loving You is Sweeter then Ever", that powerful gospel-style backing merging with Foster's yearning vocal and the warbling organ line, a simple song of love and appreciation, while she goes almost bluegrass then for "Richland Woman Blues", tripping along nicely on banjo, fiddle and harmonica allied to the guitar; probably my least favourite on the album, which isn't to say it's a bad song, but if there's a weak one, for me, this is it. It's just a little too derivative for me, and I could imagine any country singer from Emmylou to Dolly or Faith Hill to Shania singing this. Meh.

That's soon forgotten though as the heartfelt ballad "Abraham" takes over, with a lovely climbing piano and organ line and a melody that builds to a real climax, slowly and in increasing layers and with great emotion. One of the standouts on the album I feel, and with a powerful, timeless message. We end then on a less powerful but no less lovely ballad, "Forgiven" driven on piano and cello with some nice pedal steel.

Initially, I think I praised this album so much because it came after a rather poor slew of 2017 albums in that list and it was great to hear a good one among them, particularly from an artist I had never heard before. Now though, listening to it for only the second time, my opinion has not changed. Having heard this originally, I downloaded all of Ruthie Foster's discography. I haven't had a chance to listen to any more yet, but I doubt it will turn out to have been a bad decision.

Rating: 9/10
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Old 04-10-2023, 09:53 AM   #750 (permalink)
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Okay guys we move on.
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