Ann Rabson

In a Family Way

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While Ann Rabson has made a name for herself as a member of the popular blues trio, Saffire, it's quite a revelation to hear her solo. Whereas Saffire dazzles with multiple vocalists and the occasional risqué number, Rabson reveals herself as more than another revivalist jumping on the acoustic blues wagon. Sure, she can write within the tradition ("I'd Rather Be Alone"), but she's also fully capable of turning in a fresh version of a venerable warhorse like "See See Rider." Rabson's able to pull this off time and again thanks to her deeply felt vocals combined with an excellent backup band. She has a rich, penetrating singing style all her own, and even when singing a swinging upbeat song like "Little Red Wagon," she never sounds like she's showing off. Rabson also plays piano, and she's joined by a crack band featuring violinist Mimi Rabson and trombonist Dave Harris. Mimi Rabson provides a nice, bluesy difference on pieces like "I Can't Get My Mind Off of You," while Harris adds a spunky spontaneity to "I Want to Hop on Your Harley." If In a Family Way seems to sag a bit toward the end, it's probably because it's hard to maintain the kind of intensity Rabson displays forever. In a Family Way will please anyone who demands that his or her blues be delivered with feeling.

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