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October/November 2005

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Sista Monica
Can't Keep a Good Woman Down

Mo Muscle Records

Sista Monica

Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down reflects the triumphant return of Sista Monica Parker to the blues community. As many of you know, Monica has recovered from her bout with cancer and her new record is full of hope, compassion and promise for the future.

She opens with the title song and proudly proclaims her return. Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down is a testament to her strength and conviction that everything was going to turn out right. Monica worked hard to return and you definitely can’t keep her down. "Cookin’ With Grease" is a look back at her Chicago roots, the soul singers she watched on the street and the gospel influences of church. In many respects, the street was her church, and the influences there provide the foundation for her to sing and “cook with grease!”

"Funny How Time Slips Away" is a wonderfully sung version of the classic Willie Nelson song. Warm, passionate and soulful…Monica’s version tugs at your heartstrings….you feel her pain in singing about the loss of love she feels for this man.

Love turns to interrogation in the clever "Show Me What You’re Working With." Monica wants to know “what you’re doing, why you’re late…and where you’ve been.” It’s apparent that the answers to these questions will have an impact on the length of time this relationship will continue. An unsatisfactory answer will send you to the curb faster than you can think of the right answer.

Be careful of your answers to the questions "Put Your Money (Where Your Mouth is)," which continues this theme of requisite honesty…failure to live up to the terms will be the end of this relationship…you can count on it.

"Leave the Door Open" is a wonderful ballad that asks the question is love enough? Deep in the midst of pillow talk her man has asked Monica what she’s thinking…..I doubt this was the answer he was hoping for. The door is open, she’s definitely in love….but she’s also tired of what’s going on…..he has a choice…walk through the open door or move on. Chris Cain’s guitar leads contribute to the wonderful textures of this song. It’s my favorite of the record.

Monica definitely has advice for her sisters with "Put It In the Crock Pot," advice they had better heed. A man loves good cooking and loving and every woman’s recipe is different. You’d best keep your secrets to yourself if you’re going to hold onto your man. Paul Jones on bass and Doug Rowan on sax contribute their talents to the song, while Monica admonishes her sisters to “put the soul in the crock pot” when they’re cooking. "Surrender to Love" advises everyone to give love another try. At one time or another we’re all “prisoners of love” so we might as well surrender to it!

Things slow down again on the Sam Cooke song, "A Change Gonna Come." Monica gives the song its proper due and her gospel roots continue to provide the passionate spark that makes it shine. On "The Truth," Monica extols the virtues of searching for the truth….anything else is living a lie and fails to serve your greater good. There’s no sense staying with a man who doesn’t love you, a politician who won’t keep his promises and a singer who won’t sing the truth. "The Truth" is all that matters….keep it real. Sista Monica continues this theme with "Lip Service," telling her man that lip service won’t do…come at me with the truth and we’ll get along fine.

In "The Bigger They Are (The Harder They Fall)," the shoe is on the other foot. A good man stood by her during all of her trials and ultimately she neglected him. By taking him for granted, ultimately she ends up losing him.

Sista Monica closes the album with the anthem, "It’s Good to Be Alive," a worthy testament to glory of God and how he stood by her through all of her trials.

It’s good to have Sista Monica back at the forefront of the contemporary blues scene. Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down is easily one of the top ten albums you’ll hear all year. Her original compositions sparkle, the cover songs were well-chosen and blend beautifully with the original material. Sista Monica’s band is tight throughout and her vocals are incredible. Enjoy this record and celebrate with Monica her joy. It’s well-deserved.

--- Kyle Deibler


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