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Men Are Like Street Cars: Women Blues Singers 1928-1969

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22/3/1999

Review

Men Are Like Street Cars is far from last word on female blues singers -- how could it be without anything by Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith, Ida Cox, Ma Rainey, Lucille Bogan, or Sippie Wallace? But then, MCA never claimed that it was, and one can state without a moment's hesitation that this two-CD, 46-song collection covers a lot of ground, and that MCA put a great deal of time and effort into assembling it. Spanning 1928-1969, Street Cars starts out with some late-'20s recordings by classic blues singers Jenny Pope and Bertha "Chippie" Hill before treating us to the country blues of Memphis Minnie (who is heard on 1930's "Bumble Bee" and 1952's "Me and My Chauffeur Blues"), the jump blues of Big Mama Thornton and the blues-influenced swing or swing-influenced blues of Billie Holiday (who is represented by "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues" and "T'aint Nobody's Business If I Do"), Blue Lu Barker, Rosetta Howard, Ella Johnson, Dinah Washington, Helen Humes, and Alberta Hunter. It is on Disc two that Street Cars ventures into electric urban blues and soul with classics by Katie Webster ("I Feel So Low"), Etta James ("Something's Got a Hold on Me"), Koko Taylor ("Wang Dang Doodle"), Irma Thomas ("Good to Me"), and Ike & Tina Turner ("Three O'Clock Blues"). Major praise should go to Mary Katherine Aldin, who selected all of the material for MCA and provides exhaustive, incredibly detailed liner notes -- she certainly did her homework. From excellent digital remastering and good or excellent material to first-rate liner notes and attractive art work, Men Are Like Street Cars treats its subject matter with the reverence it deserves. Blues lovers should make a point of obtaining it. ~ Alex Henderson
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Some Cold Rainy Day Bertha "Chippie" Hill 3:22
  3. 2 Whiskey Drinkin' Blues Jenny Pope 3:24
  4. 3 Tallahatchie River Blues Mattie Delaney 2:49
  5. 4 Bumble Bee Memphis Minnie 3:19
  6. 5 Hot Nuts (Get 'Em from the Peanut Man) Georgia White 2:48
  7. 6 I'll Keep Sittin' on It (If I Can't Sell It) Georgia White 2:58
  8. 7 Black Snake Swing Victoria Spivey 3:3
  9. 8 If You're a Viper Rosetta Howard 3:13
  10. 9 Jack I'm Mellow Bessie Smith 2:46
  11. 10 Don't You Make Me High Blue Lu Barker 2:37
  12. 11 My Man and I Sister Rosetta Tharpe 3:6
  13. 12 Rock Me [1938 Single Version] Sister Rosetta Tharpe 2:40
  14. 13 I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues [1939 Single Version] Billie Holiday 2:54
  15. 14 Men Are Like Street Cars Rosetta Howard 2:26
  16. 15 Chirpin' the Blues Alberta Hunter 2:53
  17. 16 Fine and Mellow Alberta Hunter 2:48
  18. 17 Cannon Ball Nora Lee King 2:47
  19. 18 Blow Top Blues Dinah Washington 3:21
  20. 19 I'm Tired of Crying Over You Ella Johnson 3:18
  21. 20 'Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do Billie Holiday 3:23
  22. 21 Worry, Worry, Worry Rosetta Perry 2:52
  23. 22 It's Been a Long Time Mildred Jones 2:45
  24. 23 Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train Mabel Scott 3:5
  25. 1 I Ain't In the Mood Donna Hightower 3:6
  26. 2 All Night Long Helen Humes 2:52
  27. 3 Me and My Chauffeur Blues Memphis Minnie 2:54
  28. 4 They Call Me Big Mama Big Mama Thornton 2:6
  29. 5 I'm Gonna Play the Honky Tonks Marie Adams 2:45
  30. 6 Please Don't Touch My Bowl Gladys Hill 2:51
  31. 7 Hound Dog Big Mama Thornton 2:53
  32. 8 I'm Gonna Latch On Marie Adams 2:32
  33. 9 Messin' Around with the Blues Alberta Adams 2:56
  34. 10 Take a Chance on Me Lovey Lewis 2:44
  35. 11 Sit Back Down Esther Phillips 2:24
  36. 12 A Trumpet Blows Away the Blues Gwen Johnson 2:46
  37. 13 Take out Your False Teeth Daddy Margie Day 2:24
  38. 14 Miss You So Lillian Offitt 2:14
  39. 15 If (I Could Be with You) Miss La-Vell 2:41
  40. 16 I Feel So Low Katie Webster 2:16
  41. 17 I'm a Little Mixed Up Betty James 2:51
  42. 18 Something's Got a Hold on Me [1961 Single Version] Etta James 2:51
  43. 19 In the Basement, Pt. 1 Etta James 2:26
  44. 20 Wang Dang Doodle Koko Taylor 3:4
  45. 21 Good To Me Irma Thomas 2:36
  46. 22 29 Ways Koko Taylor 3:16
  47. 23 Three O'Clock Blues Ike & Tina Turner 2:39

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