Whole Nother World
Booga Music / Vizz
Whole Nother World (Vizz Tone) is my
first album by Patti Parks, and if she continues to make
music this good I'll look forward to years of building up my
library of her recordings. The western New York state native
headed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to record this album after
legendary blues cat Kenny Neal discovered her singing in the
International Blues Challenge. Neal produced and played guitar
on the album, in addition to releasing it on his own Booga Music
label. While it's a bit short at only eight songs, every number
here is solid and worth listening to repeatedly. The more I
listen to this album, the more it grows on me.
Whole Nother World starts with one of the
best and most powerful cuts, "I'm Trouble," with lots of horns
and Fredrick Neals' hot piano solo behind Parks' big voice. She
convinces the listener that she really means it when she says
she's trouble, and we're all signing up for the ride when she
asks whether we'd like to get in trouble with her. Slowing the
tempo considerably is the next cut, the bluesy "More Than You'll
Ever Know," packed jam full of emotion in Parks' voice.
I love her version of the James Brown classic,
"It's a Man's Man's Man's World," with Parks giving her voice
plenty of power and soul. A highlight that you'll want to hear
over and over --- just keep pressing repeat. "Baby Bee" is a
Kenny Neal original, a slow bayou country blues with Neal
playing both guitar and harmonica as well as sharing vocals with
Parks. This one just drips with Baton Rouge sweat and swamp
Staying in a Louisiana state of mind, "Stickin'
to My Guns" is an up-tempo blues shuffle with Parks belting out
sassy vocals while Neal complements with tasty Lazy Lester-style
harmonica. Brandon Adams opens the pleasant soul ballad, "Don't
Play Me Cheap," with both piano and organ accompaniment while
Jason Parfait comes in with jazzy sax work. "I Can't Think" is
pure horn-driven soul with a blues shuffle rhythm and a very
nice organ solo by Adams.
Bringing this package to a close is the snaky
blues, "No Means No," with Parks being very assertive with that
man by telling him when it's time to go, singing, "... If I want
more, I'll let you know ..." and "... the light is stuck on red
'til I say it's green ..."
Whole Nother World has barely satisfied
my newfound appetite for music from Patti Parks. It's a good
start, and now I'll wait patiently for the next album.
--- Bill Mitchell