Betty Joplin

Blinded By Love

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If you check some of the latter period Arthur Prysock recordings, you'll note Joplin joining him on a few cuts, two of which were nominated for Grammy awards. The Lansing, MI area singer presents a debut CD full of ballads, blues, and soul tunes. Her voice is a mix of Nancy Wilson's sultriness, Dinah Washington's sassiness, and Aretha Franklin's soul and spirituality, although Joplin retains a confident quality that is all her own. For this date she's hooked up with some west coast backup, including icons Jack McDuff on organ, Phil Upchurch on guitar, Donald Bailey on drums, Jesse Murphy on bass, and yeoman-like piano work from Richard Hindman and Peter Horvath. Six of the ten tunes here are ballads, ranging from the Dr. John-Doc Pomus title track and "It's Just a Matter Of Time," both with Hindman delightfully burrowing into the deeper recesses of the heart, to a more soulful "Please Send Me Someone to Love," with McDuff and Upchurch intensifying these blues hues in their own inimitable way. Joplin accompanies herself on piano, and proves a skilled gospel-tinged player for "At the Dark End of the Street" and "Stormy Weather," the former with McDuff, Upchurch, and rhythm section, the latter alone and focused. Horvath helps on a duo take with Joplin of Mercer Ellington's "Looking," and a group effort for the regretful "The Masquerade Is Over." Joplin's most excitable tune is "Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do," where she fervently shouts, demanding deliverance on a midtempo groove, McDuff chiming in. The doting, talking blues "I'm Getting 'Long Alright" finds Joplin having fun while observantly sharing her knowledge of men, with a Ray Charles-like overdub sounding multi-horn backing from saxophonist Norbert Stachel. Joplin even invents a laid-back R&B version of the old Moody Blues hit "Go Now." If you like your jazz and blues fine and mellow in the tradition of the greats, you should enjoy Joplin's singing immensely. She's got the tone, chops, and class to grab your heartstrings and pluck them a bit.

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