Another Washed Up Rocker Retires to the Blues

Cyndi Lauper to Release Memphis Blues June 22nd on Downtown Records

New York, NY Iconic performer and musical chameleon Cyndi Lauper will release Memphis Blues on June 22nd on Downtown Records. The collection of blues cover songs, recorded this March at Electraphonic Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, features appearances by such great artists as B.B. King, Jonny Lang, Allen Toussaint, Ann Peebles and Charlie Musselwhite.

“This is the album I’ve wanted to make for years,” said Lauper. “All of these beautiful songs, and all of the great players on the album, were carefully chosen because I’ve admired them my entire life. And I knew from the moment Alan Toussaint hit the keys in ‘Shattered Dreams’ that we were creating something really special.”

The feel of Memphis Blues is gritty and full of life. It bristles with the kind of energy that earmarked the hit singles invented on the fly at Stax Records, the historic and spiritual prototype for Electraphonic, where musicians of multiple generations work side-by-side creating soul-driven anthems for the brokenhearted, the unrequited, and the overlooked.

Lauper, who traveled from New York to Memphis to set up camp at Electraphonic Recording Studio, assembled a team of crackerjack session players to cut the way she knew this record had to be done: live, analog, with Cyndi herself calling out arrangements on the studio floor.

Produced by Scott Bomar and mixed by longtime collaborator William Wittman, Memphis Blues features appearances by a veritable dream team of blues and soul greats, including harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite, vocalist Ann “I Can’t Stand the Rain” Peebles, brilliant Crescent City organist Allen Toussaint, and hotshot guitar heroes Jonny Lang and legend B.B. King.

Memphis Blues session players include Stax veterans Lester Snell and Skip Pitts, and Hi Rhythm Section alums Leroy Hodges and Howard Grimes, studio careerists who cut their teeth recording with the likes of Isaac Hayes and Al Green. Along with the punctuating blasts provided by trumpeter Marc Franklin, baritone saxophonist Kirk Smother, and tenor saxman Derrick Williams, they provided a steadfast foundation for Lauper’s impeccable vocals.

Ranging from the harmonica blues ballad “Just Your Fool,” to “Don’t Cry No More,” originally a hit for Bobby “Blue” Bland, Cyndi starts with a slow burn and then pours on the gasoline, giving “Rollin’ And Tumblin’” an authentic hill country blues read and collaborating with the one and only B.B. King on the up-tempo Louis Jordan raver “Early in the Morning.”

As demonstrated by her scorching, tell-it-like-it-is renderings of Memphis Slim’s “Mother Earth” and Lowell Fulsom’s “Shattered Dreams,” even Cyndi’s topical themes – which, on past albums, have addressed homophobia and racism – are stripped away as she focuses on the most basic problem to plague humankind: love, and the havoc wreaked because of it.

Memphis Blues track listing:
1. I’m Just Your Fool (feat. Charlie Musselwhite)
2. Shattered Dreams (feat. Allen Toussaint)
3. Early in the Morning (feat. Allen Toussaint & B.B. King)
4. Romance in the Dark
5. How Blue Can You Get (feat. Jonny Lang)
6. Down Don’t Bother Me (feat. Charlie Musselwhite)
7. Don’t Cry No More
8. Rollin and Tumblin’ (feat. Kenny Brown and Ann Peebles)
9. Down So Low
10. Mother Earth (feat. Allen Toussaint)
11. Cross Roads (feat. Jonny Lang)
12. Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues

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Published in: on May 28, 2010 at 2:25 PM  Leave a Comment  
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