"women in (e)motion: Rory Block" - 1994
1. My Train Is Coming (Charlie Spand)
2. Walking Blues (Robert Johnson)
3. That´s No Way For Me To Get Along (Rev. Robert Wilkonson)
4. Canned Heat (Tommie Johnson)
5. God´s Gift To Women (Rory Block)
6. Gypsy Boy (Rory Block)
7. Bonnie Boy (Rory Block)
8. Future Blues (Willie Brown)
9. Frankie & Albert (Mississippi John Hurt)
10. Moon´s Goin Down (Charlie Patton)
11. Me And The Devil/When You Got A Good Friend (Robert Johnson)
12. The Uncloudy Day (trad.)
13. One Thing I love About That Man Of Mine (Willie Moore)
14. Nobody Knows You WhenYou´re Down And Out (Jimmy Cox)
15. Mississippi Blues (Willie Brown)
16. Fixin´To Die (Bukka White)
17. Stagger Lee (Mississippi John Hurt)
18. I Feel Just Like Going On (Rev. Gary Davis)
19. Love My Blues Away (Rory Block)
20. Kindhearted Man (Robert Johnson)
There was a time when Rory Block didnít take it for granted that she would be singing the blues of an earlier era. Despite her enthusiasm, she didnít feel that a white girl from New York had the right to perform pieces that black musicians from the South wrote in the twenties and thirties. Rory Block fortunately changed her mind. She was only able to do it by treating the music and itís creators with as much respect as possible. Her interpretation of a Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Bukka White or Charlie Patton song preserves the classical form, the original spirit is present. She happily shares her knowledge of the roots of country-blues and itís most important protagonists. But this respect has not made Rory Block into a copier. Her interpretation of classic blues numbers has her own stamp, both in the guitar and singing style.
Rory Block is a singer with heart and soul. Her crystal clear, energetic guitar work is an almost percussive attack. And she plays slides with her bare finger. Her vocal style was not only influenced by blues. You cannot miss the influence of gospel and soul which have given her singing a particularly emotional quality.
It plays a significant role in her own pieces, where Rory Block departs from blues. In the eighties she developed into a first class singer/songwriter ñ an respect of her creative work which has gained in importance and which can also be heard on this live recording.
Rory Block has been surrounded by music since her earliest childhood. Music held a place of respect in her family. Two years of classical guitar lessons helped her develop a solid basis in technique. She was allready accompanying her father at folk festivals at the age of 12. Allan Blockís sandal shop in New Yorkís Greenwich Village was one of the meeting places of the flourishing folk scence at the time. Young musicians like John Sebastian and Bob Dylan stopped by. Folk-blues veterans like Mississippi John Hurt, Son House and Rev. Gary Davis met for easy-going sessions. Rory learned from them, but she had allready acquired the basics with obsession from records and tapes.
When she ran away from home at the age of 15 and moved in with guitarist and country-blues expert, Stefan Grossman, there was not much more he was able to teach her in the way of technique. The two of them produced a ìHow to Play Blues Guitarì record. Then Rory Block put aside the guitar for the next eight years and raised her first son, a difficult time with a lot of sacrifices from which she finally ventured a new start.
She played the blues, she sang the blues ñ and to her surprise, the audience was thrilled which gave her the feeling that she was on the right path. Rory Block recorded four of her own albums with different companies between 1975 and 1978. The producers forced the young blues singer to incorporate varying musical styles, first country and folk, then slick R&B, and finally the ìinì disco style. The first album on which Rory Block had complete artistic control came out in 1981 ñ her late debut as a mature blues singer. Since then she has regularly recorded blues and songwriter albums and tours several times a year in the USA and Europe. She has earned so much respect that her blues interpretations have even received literary mention. In the Carlotta Carlisle novels by crime author, Linda Barnes, the likeable detective, Carlotta, gathers emotional strengh from Rory Block songs.
At a live session at the Bremen ìwomen in (e)motionì Festival, in 1988, Koko Taylor introduced her fellow musician as ìMiss Dynamiteì ñ a fitting title for the great performer. The songs from Rory Blockís performance at the double concert with Jo-Ann Kelly have been supplemented by recordings from an exceptional concert of Roryís a half year earlier in Bremen.
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