My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Tag Archives: Sippie Wallace

Album Review: Wynonna – ‘Sing: Chapter 1’

wynonna_book_outside_whiteWynonna’s latest album – a covers disc incorporating styles ranging from bawdy blues to elegant pop to Stones-style rock and roll to traditional country – is an interesting and at times inspired collection. Wynonna’s ferocious delivery is front and center the entire time, always reminding us that Wynonna Judd is the owner of one of the finest voices of our time.

The one new song, the brilliant Rodney Crowell-penned ‘Sing’ is without a doubt the album’s masterpiece – an uplifting number with a swelling chorus.  The message isn’t terribly original, but lyrics like “Sing it like you hear it/Like you have no need to fear it now/Sing it like you know it/Like you’re not afraid to show us how” put this anthem of empowerment just a step ahead of the dozens of others of the same ilk.

Opening the album is the percussion-driven ‘That’s How Rhythm Was Born’.  Her bluesy take on the old Sippie Wallace number ‘Women Be Wise’ is pure ear-candy to anyone with a penchant for torch songs performed to perfection. Likewise, Wynonna tears into the Dave Edmunds cover ‘I Hear You Knockin’, infusing the 12-bar blues tune with those fierce, patented Wynonna vocals.

Another stand-out track is the Doris Day/Nat King Cole hit from the 1950s ‘When I Fall In Love’.  Celine Dion and Clive Griffin also recorded it for the soundtrack to the blockbuster Sleepless In Seattle  in 1993. Again, it’s the crooning of Wynonna that takes this, an average tune, and turns it into something special.

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Single Review: Wynonna – ‘Women Be Wise’

wynonna1For her new album, Sing: Chapter 1, Wynonna has teamed up with long-time collaborators – and the two most important men to the career of The Judds – Brent Maher and Don Potter.  And the end result is awesome – a strong set of covers sung to Wynonna perfection.  But that’s another review.  We’re going to talk about ‘Women Be Wise’, which is presumably the album’s first radio single.  

Listening to the song, I can visualize Wynonna singing in a smoky blues club – right out of a private eye movie.  The song itself dates back to the 1930s and was written by the ‘Texas Nightingale’ Sippie Wallace & John Beach.  (Wynonna considers this a Bonnie Raitt cover, as most will.)  Sippy Wallace was a blues singer who gained popularity in the ’20s, and whose music dated as far back as Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters.  But, as the legend goes, Wallace was re-discovered in the 1960s by Bonnie Raitt (when Wallace re-recorded the song in 1966), who then subsequently covered ‘Women Be Wise’ causing a resurgence in Wallace’s popularity, that lasted until her death.  Confusing, huh?

The song speaks for itself, so I am only going to comment on the vocal.  I’ve always considered Wynonna one of music’s finest vocalists, and highly underrated.  Here, she shows she’s still at the top of her game, even though her influences are not all country.  Wynonna stays very true to the Raitt recording of the song, growling and trilling in just the right places while remaining crystal clear all the while.  A jazzy piano intro sets the mood, and allows the singer to take over.  She clearly has a grasp on these elements of popular music, as she masters this torch song like few could.  Brilliant.

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Listen to ‘Women Be Wise’ and other songs in the Jukebox section of Wynonna’s official site.