The word “hurricane” comes from the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico to describe the most powerful force in their universe. These winds had the ability to destroy an entire village and usually appeared out of nowhere leaving the people to deal with the destruction and to make changes in order to appease the God.
It’s very rare that someone has said, “Thank God that hurricane blew through here,” but in the case of an extraordinary performer know as Hurricane Ruth LaMaster, Thank God she blew through here and brought her amazing talent to share with us!
Her latest CD is an EP called WINDS OF CHANGE that appears to be self-released, but despite its diminutive size (four songs) it is long on talent and you would be better off if you added this hurricane to your collection. LaMaster’s voice is incredible and she deserves a spot next to the best belters in history. She’s expressive and captivating.
I can’t wait to see her live – but for right now, I’m going to have to settle for finding any of her earlier releases.
The four songs on this EP are written by Neil Giraldo and Myron Grombacher; Willie Dixon; Calvin Lee and Andrew Wright; and Delbert McClinton. None of them are exactly slouches in the songwriting department and LaMaster does a terrific job of interpreting them and honoring their legacy while putting her own stamp on the songs.
The band consists of Dick Garretson on trumpet and providing the arrangements; Mick Gillette on tenor sax; Sande Hackel on baritone sax; Doug Wilcox on trombone; Brian Curtis on keyboards; Frank Huston on guitar; Gary Davis on bass; and John Sluzalis on drums. Each song is horn centric showing LaMaster’s love of those big band blues and that’s a style that I happen to enjoy very much and don’t get to hear often enough.
The album kicks off with I Feel Lucky and immediately you know you are hearing something special. It would be right at home as the opening number in The Cotton Club as it showcases both the singer’s amazing pipes and the tightness of the band. The title is prophetic as indeed I do feel lucky listening to the song.
Built For Comfort is just one of Willie Dixon’s many classic compositions and I don’t know that I’ve ever heard it interpreted as well as LaMaster and Company do here. Her voice has plenty of seductive promise and Huston’s guitar takes us out on an extended walk. Damn, this is a fine song!
She then turns it loose with the classic When A Man Loves A Woman, managing to take a song we’ve all heard a thousand times or more and making it sound brand new. She softens her voice for much of the song setting up her belting for just the right moments.
LaMaster closes out the EP with Delbert McClinton’s Going Back To Louisiana, a little roadhouse boogie that rocks the house.
LaMaster’s voice is confident (to say the least) and the band is strong and tight. The only problem I have with the release is its length. I could easily listen to her all night long and ask for more in the morning. WINDS OF CHANGE serves as a great introduction to this powerful woman, and I want to hear more.
If you are as intrigued as I am by this little sample, head over to her website http://hurricaneruth.com/ and see where she’s traveling to and what she’s released before. And save some for me will ya?
(Image of Winds Of Change taken from the artist's website. If you are the copyright holder and wish for us to take it down, please notify us and we will comply. We won't like it one bit mister, but we'll do it...)