Liniment and Collard Greens

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Getting this CD finished was more than a notion. If it wasn't finances, then it was something, always something, that was blocking the completion of this project. Still, despite roadblocks that seemed to spring relentlessly from everywhere like concrete Pop-Tarts, Sweet Claudette kept at it. When you get to be a 56-year-old great-grandmother in this blues life, patience isn't just a virtue, it's a way of life. The real blues doesn't get there fast; it takes its time and gets there right. Patience pays off.

This is, without a doubt, Sweet Claudette at her very best. A native of Heflin, Alabama, Claudette has been a fixture on the Detroit blues scene for years. There aren't many jam sessions where she hasn't made herself known -- more so than on the regular nightclub circuit. As this first recording demonstrates, Claudette has a voice drenched in what it means not only to perform the blues, but to live them every day of your life. There is no way on earth anyone who hasn't lived life in the trenches can lay it down like this. Claudette has sometimes been criticized for not always singing on key, and that's a fair criticism. But when she's on, she is on.

What makes this recording so special is Sweet Claudette's down-in-the-gut feeling of the blues, and some wonderful lyrics and song titles. In addition to the title track, dedicated to the memory of her grandmother who used liniment to ease the pains of her arthritis, "Sheet Pressures Union Card" is another great original which encourages listeners to join the union and says that her union card is the only one she owns. "27 Lonely Women," according to Harrell, dispels the rumor that men are cheating dogs 28 days of the month. "He's talking instead about 28 days of vitamins and 27 lonely women who'll never have the chance because he's with me the whole time."

Now that's the blues.

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