The Austin Chronicle

Record Reviews

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, November 16, 2012, Music

Rosie Flores

Working Girl's Guitar (Bloodshot)

Janis Martin

The Blanco Sessions (Cow Island Music)

There's more than a little serendipity to Janis Martin's last recordings, overseen by Rosie Flores, and said producer's latest LP both seeing the light of day nearly simultaneously. Flores revitalized the careers of both Wanda Jackson and Martin when they appeared on her 1995 album Rockabilly Filly, and she rightly takes great pride in the fact both rockabilly pioneers received well-deserved, latter-day recognition as a result. After more than 10 years of preparation, Martin recorded The Blanco Sessions in two days in 2007, then unexpectedly passed away four months later. Labels decided against releasing the LP, mainly because of what they saw as a difficult promotional effort. The music speaks otherwise. Martin's voice possesses a timelessly sassy quality, a flawless match to songs like Dave Alvin's "Long White Cadillac" and blues classic "Roll Around Rockin'." A hillbilly band consisting of locals Dave Biller, Bobby Trimble (who also serves as co-producer), T Jarrod Bonta, and Beau Sample rises the occasion, and Kelly Willis adds simmering duet vox on "Walk Softly on This Heart Of Mine." The Blanco Sessions makes for a bittersweet farewell kiss. Flores' 11th album, Working Girl's Guitar, finds her in the driver's seat, playing all of the album's guitar parts and producing as well. Those who've followed her over the years will attest to the Austinite making music for guitar lovers, and, although at nine tracks it's all a bit too brief, this disc in no way disappoints. With the slashing chords of the title track, the deep twang of "Surf Demon #5," a bluesy sting on "If (I Could Be With You)," and a closing cover of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," Rosie Flores delivers her strongest outing in years. Two of them.

(Working Girl's Guitar) ***

(The Blanco Sessions) ***.5

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