Liz Mandville Greeson: Back In Love Again
by R.J. Bianchino
Today's music market seems to rely more and more on star value (read sex appeal) and schlock to sell records. We are NXESS of pretty boy bands and should be spared any additional sparsely clad Britneys. So it's refreshing when someone such as Liz Mandville Greeson comes along. In a world where many pop stars choose only one name, Greeson has three. Maybe that number symbolizes her triple threat talent. Liz is an enjoyable entertainer, a significant singer (with a vocal range of four octaves), and a darn good songwriter. Back In Love Again, her third release on Earwig Music, more than proves all three points.
Starting straight from the first cut, "Soul Tender," you knew that Back In Love Again would be tearing at your heart strings. This song, like many others on the CD, brings back the soulful R&B ballads of yesteryear. It is nicely complimented by the addition of the Chigago Fire Horns. The horns also find there way onto "All My Love," giving it a Chuck Willis stroll-like quality.
While Greeson's vocal is both soulful and tender on the opening track, "Juicehead Man" with its barrelhouse delivery, is raucous and driving. The same is to be said for "Lip Service" where she tells her man exactly what she wants from him. This woman is definitely in control.
"All Alone" slows the pace once more and leads into the creative surprise of the disc. Aptly titled "The Gift," this song wouldn't be out of place on a Stevie Nicks album. While not a blues number, it does Greeson's song writing (she penned all 13 songs on the CD) proud. Its hauting opening line "I use to pleasure silently" stays with you to the song's climax:
Of all the gifts my lovers brought
yours cost most but most it taught
the child that lived inside of me
afraid in love alone is gone...
"The Gift" is enhanced by the addition of beautiful cello playing of Tom Culver. Powerful stuff.
Liz follows this with the r&b flavored "Face The Music," the title track "Back In Love," and the country-like "For Real." She lightens up things a bit with "Johnny And Me." Johnny, by the way, is not an ex-lover but her dog!
The remaining songs "The Night Thing" (with a nice sax solo by Sonny Seals) and "Broken-Hearted Fool" again go back to Greeson's r&b influences. And the short closer, "Shine Clear With Joy" Greeson takes it to the church. This gospel tune, sung acapella with backup singers, concludes the CD on a positive note.
Back In Love Again contains some of the best low-down blues I've heard in a long time and should gain Liz Mandville Greeson the wider audience she well deserves. All this without giving "lip service" to anyone!
Liz Mandville Greeson recently appeared at Boulder Station, Las Vegas on September 4, 2003. A complete tour schedule is available on the Liz Mandville Greeson Official Website.
bluesInteractive™ go to Liz Mandville Greeson Caught Live! in Las Vegas
Personnel: Liz Mandville Greeson (vocals, washboard, acoustic guitar); Phil Baron, Alan Batts (piano); Billy Branch (harmonica); Tom Culver (cello); Mike Gibb, Mark Wydra (guitar); Dave Kaye (bass); Twist Turner (drums); Sonny Seals (tenor sax); Ann Bridges, Del Brown, Precious Jewel, Bruce Thompson (background vocals); The Chicago Fire Horns (Hank Ford, tenor; Bill McFarland, trombone; Kenny Anderson, trumpet)
Liz Mandville Greeson's 3rd release on Earwig Music, Back In Love Again, can be purchased at Amazon.com
copyright © 2003 Moondog Productions & jazzInternet.com