Suncoast Blues Society – 12 Bar Rag
Hurricane Ruth LaMaster “Winds of Change”
Some say Hurricane Ruth LaMaster got her nickname because nobody believed a category five storm could explode out of such a tiny, five-foot-tall-in-her-bare-feet chick. But when you hear her, you’ll definitely believe it. The power she manages to pull out of her gut has its roots all the way down to her toes. This little lady belts it OUT! Not surprisingly, LaMaster’s voice and style have been compared—favorably of course—with such Glory Day powerhouses as Janis Joplin, Big Mama Thornton and Aretha Franklin. Also not surprisingly, the band doing backup on this little (about 16 minutes for the whole set!) gem, is also bursting with power. It sounds a whole lot bigger than an octet but that’s what the jacket numbers add up to.
“I Feel Lucky,” the opening cut, has a walking bass foundation that sounds like the walker, Gary Davis, is wearing size 13 combat boots! As LaMaster says in her promo sheet, “I wanted to come out of the gate strong, and this song does that.” In spades. “Built for Comfort” is an old Willie Dixon standard, a slow rocker that features Frank Huston on guitar. “When a Man Loves a Women” is the Percy Sledge classic to which LaMaster adds her own style and emotion. Winding up this mini set is LaMaster’s take on Delbert McClinton’s good humored, Bourbon Street wailer, “Going Back to Louisiana.” Like the three other cuts on this album, Ruth LaMaster latches on to this one with the claws of an eagle, the heart of a lion, and the soul of a true broad of the blues.
Winds of Change is short and sweet, but it’s also a mighty neat album. If you never heard her before, crank up the amps and check out the online videos of Hurricane Ruth LaMaster.