Blues Bytes


June 2016

Katie Webster
The Swamp Boogie Queen - I'm Bad
Wolf Records

Katie Webster

Katie Webster. Just saying her name conjures smiles. Having had the opportunity to see her I can attest that this live recording, The Swamp Boogie Queen - I'm Bad (Wolf Records), captures her in all her splendor. She was bad before Marcia Ball and she just loved to “rock that boogie woogie.”

The 16 tunes captured here were recorded in Athens, Greece in 1990. Katie solo at the piano. Tearing it up. She was tender, but she was bawdy more often. The program consists of her brilliant piano and her joyful singing.

Opening with "Got My Mojo Working," she boogies through "Katie’s Boogie," with quotes of "Sweet Home Chicago." "I’m Bad" is played at a mid-tempo and she sings about driving all the men crazy and making the women leave home. She’s a Hootchy Cootchy Woman.

"Basin Street Blues" is given a relatively mellow reading. "Sea of Love," the song that put her on the musical map when she was 13 and played piano on the original Phil Phillips recording, shares space with Jimmy Reed’s "Honest I Do." Two tunes from the Otis Redding catalog, "Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay" and "Try a Little Tenderness" are on the set list. She was Redding’s touring pianist for a few years, as well.

Top to bottom this is a wonderful glimpse into the magic that was Ms. Katie Webster. Blues, standards and gospel share space, and it’s a great space to be in. Those lucky Greeks!

--- Mark E. Gallo


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