Mary Flower


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Unassuming blues heroine Mary Flowers proves once again that she's one of the nation's premier fingerstyle blues guitarists on Lady Fingers. More importantly, she's made a beautifully eclectic and listenable record, which can't be said of many traditionalist outings. Though primarily a purveyor of the Piedmont blues (the Delta tradition's brighter, syncopated cousin), Flower takes flight on this record, not limiting herself to scholarly ragtime reproductions. One moment, she's getting low-down and dirty on an imaginative medley of Big Joe William's "Baby, Please Don't Go" and Booker T. Jones' "Green Onions." The next, she's delivering a torchy rendition of Toots Thielemans' jazz classic "Bluesette," followed by a country spiritual and two thoughtful original instrumentals, showing off her heavyweight chops. Memphis Minnie, Jimmie Oden, and Ivory Joe Hunter also get their due. Flower's version of Hunter's "I Almost Lost My Mind" is priceless, featuring harmony from Mollie O'Brien. Thoughtful accompaniment by Pat Donohue (guitar), John Magnie (accordion), and Mark Diamond (string bass) really adds to the session. Flower's technique is exceptional throughout and, in the end, serves the highest purpose -- the music.

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