Published Sep 23, 2014At a very youthful 65 years old, pianist/singer Marcia Ball has enjoyed a solo career now spanning 40 years. Long a popular fixture on the Austin scene, she has won Blues Music Awards and Grammy nominations for her albums, and she's now making a mark with new effort The Tattooed Lady and The Alligator Man, one that captures her in lively top form. She is a subtle and soulful singer, but her key asset remains her versatile piano playing, equally at home in zydeco, (she was raised in Louisiana), boogie-woogie and various blues styles.
Ball wrote all the songs here save for a passionate cover of Hank Ballard's "He's the One." Helping her cause is her fine group (The Amazing Band), such notable guests as Delbert McClinton, Roscoe Beck, Amy Helm, Terrance Simien (on zydeco-inflected working class blues tune "The Squeeze Is On") and Mark Kazanoff, and the clean production of Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy). Saxman Thad Scott arranges the full-blooded horns that are a key element to the album. There's plenty of stylistic variety here, from the soulful balladry of "Just Keep Holding On" and "Human Kindness" to the swampy rock of "Hot Springs." Fun stuff. (Alligator)