Dr. Izzy Band – Blind and Blues Bound
Black Chow Records
CD: 12 songs; 56:47 Minutes
Styles: Hard Rock, Blues Rock, Americana
Sometimes, our greatest challenges and struggles provide our greatest inspiration. Such is the case with Dr. Izzy, a hardworking native of Groves, Texas. She began to go blind at the age of nine, but as she pointedly states on the ninth track of her debut album, “Don’t tell me I’d be better off dead. I ain’t ready for no dirt bed!” She’s “Blind and Blues Bound,” accompanied by Robert Morrison on electric and acoustic guitars, vocals, and cowbell, Larry Thompson on drums, and Kenny Passarelli on bass, Hammond organ, and piano.
Several guest stars also join her, including James Cotton and Otis Taylor. Connoisseurs be forewarned: Even though all twelve songs on this CD are original, none of them is an example of pure blues. Rather, they represent hard rock, blues rock, and Americana. For fans of blues masters, Dr. Izzy’s music is an acquired taste, as are her whiskey-gravel vocals. The following three songs pay the most homage to this e-magazine’s favorite genre:
Track 01: “Matches Don’t Burn Memories” – James Cotton and his trilling harmonica add a touch of classic blues to this hard-rock anthem of regret. Our narrator intends to rid herself permanently of romantic mementos: “I’ve been drinking whiskey, rocking on this porch. Got a box full of matches; each one’s a little torch. Sifting through our pictures; like to burn ‘em, every one. Been tossing out your clothes. Why is this so much fun?” Dr. Izzy minces no words, and neither does her husband Robert Morrison on thrashing electric guitar.
Track 02: “Soul Dance” – This revealing autobiographical number features Anne Harris on violin and Rose Red Elk on background vocals. Describing her battle against cancer, Dr. Izzy sings: “We’ll do the soul dance. We’ll look evil in the eye. Fight like you’re in trance; you can make it if you try.” There’s a subtle Native American influence in Red Elk’s soft chanting on the chorus. “Soul Dance” is the best song on this album, both lyrically and musically.
Track 05: “Old Black Crow” – Animals often serve as metaphors for the human condition, as it does in this meditative melody. Along with Otis Taylor on banjo, Dr. Izzy muses: “We screech through our lives like the old black crow. How do we prepare for what we could not see or know?” One might imagine seeing this avian omen on a cold morning during a thunderstorm.
Dr. Izzy and her fellow musicians’ greatest gift is their lyrical and instrumental talent. One cannot deny the power of either, even if their music isn’t blues per se. When you’re “Blind and Blues Bound,” troubles can bring triumph!