Deborah Coleman Soft Place To Fall (Blind Pig)
Soft Place To Fall (Blind Pig)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., June 16, 2000
Soft Place To Fall (Blind Pig)Deborah Coleman might not be what Muddy Waters had in mind when he rewrote Bo Diddley's swaggering tribute to him, "I'm a Man," into "Mannish Boy," but ol' McKinley Morganfield would've had this beautiful blueswoman sitting on his knee quicker than Van the Man could whistle "Baby Please Don't Go" upon hearing the Virginia-born guitarist's own Ellas McDaniel rewrite, "I'm a Woman." Cosmopolitan and uptown rather than gritty and lowdown, Coleman's sexy reading of "I'm a Woman" defines today's middle-class female bluesicians as what they are: distinctly Triple-A radio. Produced by veteran FM hit man Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan), Soft Place To Fall may be short on solos, but it's rich in tone, in such a way that on opener "Look What You Do to Me," with its sultry Stax strut, one can almost taste the wood of Coleman's Telecaster. Hamstein songwriter Jerry Lynn Williams' "Nothin' to Do With Love," meanwhile, is pure Miller Lite-era "After Midnight." Grounded by less original material than found on her sturdy one-two punch for blues indie Blind Pig, 1997's I Can't Lose and '98's Where Blue Begins, Coleman's fourth full-length is nevertheless at its best on her well-oiled title track (Mark Knopfler meets Eric Johnson) and smoky "Another Hoping Fool" (vintage Robert Cray circa Strong Persuader). A Soft Place to Fall -- come rest your head, Muddy.