AFTER THE FALL
M. C. Records (MC0069)
Don't Put The Blame, The Fall, True Blue Fool, Done Sold Everything, Little Broken Wing, All Of My Forgiveness, Goin' To A Gaggle, I'll Feel Much Better When You Cry, Down Home Girl, R.R. Boogie, Google Me Baby
For those of you who remember such things, this CD was first lined up for sale in a Red Lick catalogue when initially released back in 2012. Some kind of glitch between the New York-based label and the proposed UK distributor meant that it failed to materialise in these parts - until now!
And well worth the wait it is too, being a good old-fashioned album that is so rarely seen or heard these days. Debbie clearly took advantage of an enforced absence, caused by her breaking her arm in 2010 (hence the album title) to plan and prepare for this album, her eleventh solo outing in a career that started with her playing in Albert Collins Icebreakers before striking out on her own as far back as her 1993 Blind Pig debut album, Picture This.
Her time with Albert Collins was clearly not wasted and here is in evidence in the rollicking blues guitar in typical Ice-Pickin' style on Done Sold Everything, involving an enjoyable duelling guitar work-out with Dave Gross.
Prior to this undoubted highlight, the album has already given us the funky-blues double-whammy of Don't Put The Blame and The Fall, the latter of which possibly has its roots in her recent physical travails but has been developed into one of the album's strongest songs containing a more universal message.
Along the way an admirable balance to the enjoyable bluster of the rocking numbers is provided by a highly affecting ballad, her own Little Broken Wing, and Down Home Girl, a slinky tribute to her good friend and fellow blues musician, Robin Rogers, who passed away before this album was recorded.
And if you are looking for duffs songs or tracks to skip, forget about it. Every one of the 11 numbers on show has something good, different or worthy about them; just try the atmospheric Chicago blues of I'll Feel Much Better When You Cry, showcasing her stunning guitar leads, or the mid-paced rock of All My Forgiveness, which may be the best song on the album. Then there is the good-time party vibe on the New Orleans rhythms on Goin' To A Gaggle, a foot-tapping guitar-led instrumental R.R. Boogie (I'm guessing here of another tribute to Robin Rogers), right through to the novelty closer Google Me Baby, an amusing song that Randy Newman or Lyle Lovett would love to have written. It might not be the most substantial piece to end with but it is guaranteed to leave you smiling and coming back for more.
A supreme return to the fold then with an album that I just can't seem to tire of. Debbie's guitar playing is of course a key part of this but her tastefulness and inventiveness on the strings was only to be expected. The secret to this CD, I reckon, is the consistently high standard of songs, singing and playing, and for that, all involved should be commended.
Review Date: August 2013