Live the Life

Samoa Wilson

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Live the Life Review

by Jonathan Widran

It's testament to the Boston-bred, folk-influenced American roots singer that her own composition, the bluesy and romantic "Sun Going Down" -- which she wrote at the tender age of 16 -- could follow her rendition of Tommy Dorsey's "I'm Going to Live the Life I Sing About" and not only measure up, but surpass it in emotional intensity. Samoa Wilson's upbringing was filled with classic Americana music and multi-instrumentalist Jim Kweskin (founder of the early-'60s group the Jim Kweskin Jug Band) was an extended family member, so it was only a matter of time before they merged their talents. She joined his current band in 1997 and appeared on four tracks from Now and Again, Kweskin's first album in over 20 years. This colorful solo project grew naturally out of that, and Kweskin fans will be happy to note that the band is in full swing between vocal passages on witty, spirited tracks like "What a Little Moonlight Can Do." Geordue Gude's harmonica drives the front-porch blues of "Organ Grinder's Song," one of the few instrumental tracks between Wilson's solo numbers and vocal duets with Kweskin. The production is sparse and straightforward, lending a historical authenticity to classics like "Oh Papa Blues," originally recorded by Ma Rainey in 1927. Other unforgettable covers include the singalong "Choo Choo Ch-Boogie" and a heartfelt twist on W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues."

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