Fiona Boyes

Fiona Boyes
Blues for Hard Times

Blue Empress/Vizz Tone

By Ms. Marci
January 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, here are 16 slices of hearty blues, all but five are originals. The first two are Ms. Boyes’ compositions. "Nickels & Dimes" starts this disc on an up-beat note musically with some fine resonator guitar pickin'! I love the train beat in "Chain Gang." Tune two, "Guys Be Wise," is so much like "Women Be Wise" that it borders on plagiarism. Interestingly enough, this song was written by a man. I must say, I do appreciate that it becomes "hers" with the other side of the coin perspective she projects with her strong style (and I love Mark Rubin on the the tuba!) She covers Rev. Gary Davis' "Mean World" again ... with her own twist but still maintaining its original flavor.

This disc continues on with eight originals in a row, the first of which is "High Time," another bouncy resonator guitar-fueled, playful song. Originally, I didn't want to go from cut to cut analyzing each song, but the next song needs extra attention because it starts literally on quite a different note from what has been heard so far! "Baptized In Muddy's Sweat" hits you hard with a very appropriate, cutting slide guitar riff by who else but Bob Margolin ... WOW! The title could be said for Bob Margolin's experiences playing with the man with the powerful mojo. Mr Margolin makes the guitar shout. I believe that no one else could have gotten the message out as genuinely as he! Bravo to Fiona for writing this song, too!

Our ears go back to the basics with more resonator and lap steel guitars very well played by Fiona. The general flavor of this CD is nostalgic, ragtime blues with a dash of Gospel. It's easy to pop into your player and just listen to. It was no surprise to me that she wrote a tribute to Memphis Minnie. Much of this recording echoes Minnie's style. My only criticism would be that there seems to be a lot of gratuitous growling. Some people would say, "What's wrong with that?" I guess it's just a matter of taste; yet, I would still recommend this recording ... as long as that style is your style!

<- back to Features