Marcia Ball

Peace, Love & BBQ (Alligator)

Texas Platters

Marcia Ball

Peace, Love & BBQ (Alligator)

On her first studio offering in four years, Marcia Ball launches off with the swaggering New Orleans accordion romp of "Party Town" and surging title track that raises barbecue to spiritual levels. The slight gruff of Ball's voice adds character where it lacks versatility and fervor, but her fingers are magic on the 88s and range through styles with ease, Ian McLagan's B-3 texturing her bluesy runs as do jolts from the L.A. Horns. Cindy Cashdollar's lonesome slide cuts on "Miracle in Knoxville," which counterpoints the Southern gospel soul of "Where Do You Go?" Mac Rebennack's gravelly moan pairs well with Ball for the delicate jazz flair of "I'll Never Be Free," while "Right Back in It" boogies to the brazen brass blare of "Down in the Neighborhood." Tucked at the end, the hurricane defiance of "Ride It Out" contrasts the opening track to strike the album's poignant core while swinging it full circle.

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