Rory Block

I'm Every Woman

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After listening to the opening track of I'm Every Woman, one might be inclined to expect 45 minutes of acoustic blues to follow. "Guitar Ditty" features no more than a girl and her guitar with a great big sound. It's quite surprising, then, when Rory Block cuts loose on the title cut, a pastiche of slide guitar, disco beat, and funky '70s orchestra. Clearly, the listener isn't in the Delta anymore. Indeed, Block pretty much keeps her guitar in the corner of the studio for most of the album, trading her deep blues for a healthy dose of soul, a bit of gospel, and few other odds and ends. It's probably impossible to compare I'm Every Woman to Confessions of a Blues Singer, Block's 1998 recording. One features songs by Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, and Blind Willie McTell; the other, by Al Green and Ashford-Simpson. One maintains a fairly straightforward production, centering on acoustic guitar and vocals; the other jumps from guitar ditties to a cappella gospel to full-tilt boogie. Kelly Joe Phelps lends his vocals and a nice bit of guitar to "Pretty Polly," while Annie Raines and Paul Rishell help out on a stirring vocal version of "Rock Island Line." Block also successfully tackles Bonnie Raitt/Toni Price territory with the vibrant "I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home." While there are several memorable moments on I'm Every Woman, the overall approach seems more scattershot than eclectic, and will confuse and perhaps anger Block's fans.

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