Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Women Be Wise
Genres: Blues, Pop
Listen to Samples
Similarly Requested CDs
Sippie - Liberated Woman
Jacquie Garvey | Gainesville, FL | 08/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A must for Sippie Wallace and blues fans. Sippie was the original liberated woman and these songs speak from her heart. This combined with clarity of the recordings is makes this an album to treasure."
Don't Advertise Your Man
Alfred Johnson | boston, ma | 09/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, okay before we even start here let's get something straight. I took more than my share of politically correct abuse from my feminist friends, including my companion, when I titled one of my reviews of the work of the legendary blues singer Skip James after the title of one of his songs-I'd Rather Be The Devil Than Be That Woman's Man. As penance I noted that the more contemporary blues singer/songwriter Rory Block covered that song and changed the words to I'd Rather Be The Devil That Be A Woman To That Man. So here, for the politically pure of heart, or their wannabes, you can switch to suit your sexual or gender orientation.
But enough of that, for now because we have the serious business of discussing the blues, and an important component of that genre is the work of the Texas Nightingale- Sippy Wallace. Frankly, readers if you are going to discuss the blues you have to take the lyrics the way you find them and work around that. There is not a damn politically correct thing about them from male or female singers. Whiskey or dope. Mistreatin' man or woman. Hard luck, bad luck or no luck. Anger, murderous intent, hostility. This is the language of the blues. If you want to clean it up go to the modern folk music section. But, my friends then you would be missing some very hard driving, evocative music from down at the base of society in Jim Crow days, especially when done by one of the classic blues singers.
Classic blues singers? Those are, mainly, the black female singers of the 1920's, most famously the likes of Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, who played mostly to black audiences in the South (although not solely, witness the career of Ethel Waters). Sippy fits right in there. You may not know her because her career was cut short (for a while) by a return to her Baptist gospel roots in order to get away from "the devil's music". This has been a gnawing tension in the fate of more than one accomplished blues singer although usually, as in the case of Howlin' Wolf and Son House among others, the devil wins.
Sippy's story has a nice ending though. She was "discovered" by the great folk/blues/country singer and songwriter Bonnie Raitt (who sat at the knee of Mississippi Fred McDowell to learn her craft) in the mid-1960s after covering the above-mentioned Women Be Wise. Sippy then went on to have a successful revival until her death. That also allows this reviewer to kill two birds with one stone. This review is serving to comment on two Sippy CDs. One, Sippy Wallace, Volume 2, The Complete Works, 1925-1945, Sippy Wallace, Document Records, 1995. The other, Women Be Wise, Sippy Wallace, Alligator Records, 1992 so that one can compare quality of the two periods and the presentation of the same song in each period. I am more favorably impressed by her later work, partially because the technical quality of the recordings is better later but also partially because her voice is better later. But you decide. Check these out from Sippy Wallace- Advise Blues, Special Delivery Blues, I'm A Mighty Tight Woman, Lazy Man Blues, and Bedroom Blues. Check these from Women Be Wise-Women Be Wise, Special Delivery Blues, Caldonia Blues, and Up Country Blues.