A Blues album to savour with new arrangements to music composed and performed by 1920’s blues queens. A special album by special modern blues queen Elli de Mon.
Release date: 18th June 2021
Label: Area Pirata Records
Listening to the extraordinary Countin’ The Blues, you can certainly count me in !
From a land more noted for its opera divas, this refreshing look at traditional blues has an immediate stunning effect. Elli de Mon’s skilful guitar work hits you from the first notes of Prove It On Me Blues. She has been described as: “Ma Rainey playing dirty rock n roll.” This album proves this statement is not far from the truth.
Not only a highly accomplished multi-instrumentalist player of the blues but an avid student of the blues too. Complementing her research into legendary blues queens of the early 20th century her covers of Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Alberta Hunter, to name but a few, pay due respect to all of them as well as showcasing her own exemplary arrangements to them.
Anyone who has heard Michael Messer’s Mitra Blues fusion of blues and Asian instrumentation will know how this amazing blend works and it is evident here too on Dope Head Blues and the final track Last Kind Word Blues. The sitar is only one instrument heard on this album as rezophonic guitar, lap steel, organ, and drums are added to her ‘one woman band’ accomplishments.
I am sure many will be familiar with Messrs Plant and Page’s inkling for delving into Asian music and Elli’s version of Zep classic When The Levee Breaks written by Memphis Minnie provides another link with the dynamic duo albeit her version sticking more to a traditional acoustic style.
Elli’s homage to blues classics is never far away with a splendid cover of Freight Train. This song may have been more famous by Chas McDevitt in the 1950s but was actually written by 11-year-old Elizabeth Cotten in 1904. Also given an airing is Trouble In Mind penned by Richard Jones but covered by female blues singers in the 1920s. Elli’s intimate version does the bluegrass original justice.
Anyone wishing to introduce themselves to the amazing Elli De Mon and the pioneering female blues singers of the 1920’s should give this stunning album a listen.