Blues Bytes


July 2016

Terrie Odabi
My Blue Soul

Terri Odabi

Terrie Odabi got her start as a singer in the ’80s, backing Oakland-area singers Brenda Vaughn and Rosie Gaines in local clubs and singing jazz with former Ray Charles sax man Jules Broussard and pianist Ricardo Scales. She also sang with the the world music groups D’CuCKOO and Rhythmix in the ’90s before joining the neo-soul movement. She turned to the blues about five years ago and soon was representing the Bay Area at the 2014 and 2015 International Blues Challenge, making the semi finals both years. Her latest album, the appropriately-titled My Blue Soul, is a powerful set of mostly original tunes that combine soul and blues in equal measure.

Odabi wrote all of the originals, including “Gentrification Blues,” which addresses the plight of longtime Oakland residents being displaced from their longtime neighborhoods by newcomers who don’t approve of the existing culture. “Live My Life” is an exuberant tune of independence. “Will You Still Love Me” and “I Bet You Think I Didn’t Know” are a pair of solid, soulful slow burners. “He Wouldn’t Let Go” is a break-up tune with a twist, and the rocking “Born To Die” sizzles with horns and some stellar keyboards from Willis Hickerson, Jr.

Odabi counts her blessings on the autobiographical “Life Is So Good,” and kicks her lover to the curb on the fiery “How Dare You.” The funky “I Can’t Keep” is the first blues song she ever composed. “When You Love Me,” dedicated to her significant other, is a spare country blues backed only by the guitars of Kid Andersen (who produced the disc) and AJ Crawdaddy, and the disc closes with an original gospel track, “Hold Up The Light.” Odabi also covers the traditional “Wade In The Water” and Big Mama Thornton’s “Ball and Chain.”

Odabi has the pipes to go with her songwriting talents, displaying a remarkable range on these tracks. She’s backed by some of the best players in the Bay Area, including Andersen, Hickerson, Terry Hiatt (guitar), Derrick “D’Mar” (drums), and Bey-Paule Band saxophonist Nancy Wright. My Blue Soul is a fine set of blues and soul from a lady you should be hearing more of in the future.

--- Graham Clarke
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