Katie Webster – The Swamp Boogie Queen Live | Album Review

Katie Webster – The Swamp Boogie Queen Live

Topcat Records

15 songs time-68:06

The Texas Topcat record label has released this live recording from 1990 of the late Katie Webster, The Swamp Boogie Queen. It was recorded in Athens, Greece and features only her voice and her boogie-woogie piano styling’s on a variety of genres, including boogie-woogie, blues, R&B, soul and rock all given her boogie-woogie treatment. Her piano playing is fine, but a band setting would of allowed for a more diverse sound palette. Nevertheless, she accompanies herself on a variety of musical styles.

The lead off song “It’s Good To See You” is a nice to be here song, but as she says “God bless you” at the song’s end it makes me wonder if it is actually the last song taken out of place. The old chestnut “Basin Street Blues” is invigorated by Katie’s energetic and rollicking piano skills. “Katie’s Boogie” is a rewrite of “Dust My Broom” to fit a woman’s perspective. In her spoken intro to “Sea Of Love” she mentions that she played piano on the original by Phil Phillips at the age of thirteen. Talk about your early bloomers.

An unusual choice of a cover song in Dire Strait’s “So Far Away” starts out slow, then takes on a spiritual revival quality. “Two Fisted Mama” serves as her theme song. She works in a few blues tunes, Jimmy Reed’s “Honest I Do” being a personal favorite. “I’m Bad” is an adaptation of “Hoochie Coochie Man”. As one time she was a part of Otis Redding’s backing band she includes “Try A Little Tenderness” and “Sittin” On the Dock Of The Bay”. The former runs on a bit long for my taste, but over all a good version. The whistling is left off “Dock Of the Bay”, one of my favorite parts.

If you are a fan this CD will please you enormously. I being casually familiar with her music can take it in small doses. Whatever the case she could sure play the hell out of eighty-eights.

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