Sue Foley Back to the Blues (Antone's/Texas Music Group)
Back to the Blues (Antone's/Texas Music Group)
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., Nov. 24, 2000
Back to the Blues (Antone's/Texas Music Group)The fact that Sue Foley delivers admirably on a few of these numbers doesn't quite explain the need for Back to the Blues. Is Antone's cleaning out its inventory? Did Foley need to fulfill a contract to the label? Was there a lull in the release schedule? Foley is light years past the earnest but thin-voiced girl who cut these tracks for her first two LPs, 1992's Young Girl Blues, and '94's Without a Warning, the 13 unreleased tracks (outtakes) augmenting but not enhancing her growing body of work. Back to the Blues has its moments, such as a lovely version of Robert Jr. Lockwood's "Tanya" and Earl J. Hooker's "Guitar Rumba," but the let's-have-a-little-studio-fun of Dylan's "Positively 4th Street" is a far cry from Foley's raucous, sexy take on "If You Gotta Go" from '95's fine Big City Blues. Her unremarkable versions of "Me and My Chauffeur Blues" and "Make a Pallet on Your Floor" are as standard for every young female blues player as "Natural Woman" is for aspiring pop singers. The production and mixing are clean and professional, as expected from Derek O'Brien and Stuart Sullivan, but graphics are second-rate and the photos look like alternate choices from an older session. Foley's career didn't need these rehashes; she's evolving too quickly for them to be as positive an effort as her recent Shanachie release, Love Comin' Down. Back to the Blues goes back all right, but it's to Foley when she was green and not so blue.