The Devil & Abbe May - Hoodoo You Do (2009)
Abbe May is one of my fave 3 top alive woman singers (with Rose Kemp & Melanie Safka) and this album was one of the best surprises of last year. Actually, Abbe May plays here a stunning reincarnation of the swamp stomping blues, infested by murder and death, not far from being authorized to be called blues-doom. Imagine Buddy Guy playing the Sweet Tea album with an acoustic guitar, or T. Rex doing a real blues album. There are also traces of Sixteen Horsepower and a kind of Nick Cave flavour. If Rose Kemp decided to do a blues album, I bet it would sound something like this. It's raw and rough, all I like when women play music (the evaporated folk singers make me want to kill somebody). Hearing this 12-track collection, one may think it mainly consists in covers of old blues trads since they all sound as standards. But not at all, 9 are original compositions and only 3 covers (in particular "Goodnight Irene", that was covered by Alex Harvey on the Penthouse Tapes album in 1975). When songs are calm (actually when they are funerally calm), Abbe May sings not less than as Billie Holiday backed with a bunch of lost guys sleeping in the Bayou after having drunk to death. Striking, shivering, exceptional. When you'll know that Abbe May and her band are Australians, you'll understand how unexpected it was and how precious it is. The spirit of Voodoo is in her. After Hendrix and Dr John, the music has found his Voodoo girl. Sacrifice yourself for her here.
In streaming below, 2 songs, the opening track called "Hoodoo You Do" with its oh so catchy tune and a moving version of the Blind Willie Johnson "The Soul Of A Man" (I post the lyrics as modified by Abbe May and not the original ones). Imagine that all the album is this quality and buy it quick.
The Soul of a Man. Won't somebody tell me, answer if you can? What is the soul of a man? What is the soul of a man? I saw the doctors and the lawyers, they say a man ain't no more than his mind. I've traveled far in countries, I've traveled foreign lands, I've found nobody to tell me, what is the soul of a man.