VizzTone Label Group/Hot Toddy Music
CD: 14 Songs; 53:53 Minutes
Styles: Soul-and-Gospel-Influenced Blues, A Capella Blues
Fredericksburg, Virginia’s Gaye Adegbalola has been a spitfire for over three decades. Her primary claim to fame is being part of the trio Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women. One third of that pepper-hot pairing was her guitar teacher, the late Ann Rabson, and Andra Faye rounded out the group. Now Gaye has entered into a quartet called the “Wild Rutz” (pronounced “roots”). According to Wikipedia, “Gaye’s surname, Adegbalola, was given to her by a Yoruba priest she met in 1968. Meaning ‘I am reclaiming my royalty’, Adegbalola uses the name to signify her pride in her black heritage.”
Performing alongside Gaye in the Wild Rutz are Marta Fuentes, Doctor Gloria Jackson, and Tanyah Dadze Cotton. All four women sing, as their music is primarily vocal-oriented. The fourteen original songs on their debut album, Is It Still Good To Ya?, are also filled with numerous percussion devices. Gaye herself plays guitar, Dobro, scrub board, tambourine, claves and cabasa. Tanyah works her mojo on congas, the flat drum and the kick drum. Gloria’s instruments of choice are the cowbell, soft shake, jugs, maracas, spoons and plastic tubes. Marta, the quartet’s beat boxer, also plays the djembe, congas, bongos, doumbek, and tambourines. Together they sizzle hotter than a summer barbecue, especially on these three songs:
Track 01: “Is It Still Good To Ya?” – The CD’s opener and title track proves one thing: aging isn’t heaven. “My hair is grey from worriation [a concocted word, but a keen one]. My eyes are rheumy with observation. My nose is wide from smelling lies. My mouth is full of ‘much obliged.’ I know my body’s changed. Do you love me just the same, and – is it still good to ya?” This doo-wop will delight every person whose “sacrum ain’t sacred”, but whose heart is.
Track 04: “Fireballin’” – This is the best drinking song of 2015 so far. “When I’m up against the wall…when my tears begin to fall…when my software won’t install,” what’s the remedy? Sing along: “You need some fireball!” The pounding drums and hissing maracas will compel listeners to dance (and drink) along, especially live crowds. Gaye reveals in the liner notes that the source of the “When I get drunk…” part is Wilmer Davis’ “Gut Struggle Blues”.
Track 13: “You Don’t Have to Take It” – With choruses in English and Spanish, this a capella stunner drives home the message that abuse is never acceptable. Why does it even occur? “He was angry at the world; he was angry at me, but the world was too big to fight. He was angry at the kids – ages one, two and three – but we had to stay there in fright.” No more. Track thirteen is a consummate rebuttal to anyone who believes that domestic violence is the answer.
When it comes to Gaye Adegbalola’s “Wild Rutz” blues, Is It Still Good To Ya? Definitely!