The Music Man

“The Equalizer”: Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women

This song has been going around in my head today – though I’ve helped it out by listening to it over and over while trying to learn the lyrics:

The blues – don’t know no color
The blues – don’t know no race
Black, white, red or yellow, heartbreak has the same color face…

The blues – don’t know your number
The blues – don’t know your age
Makes the young grow old; fills the old with rage.

It’s the great equalizer; it makes us all the same.
It’s a universal feeling, and we’re kin because of pain.
Race, age or money; straight, gay or bi,
It’s the mighty equalizer – makes us all lie down and Cry.

From Cleaning House.

SaffireIf you haven’t heard Saffire – you should definitely listen! (Relatives who have already had the privilege of hearing Saffire (meaning when I push music on them at holidays!) are exempted)  Saffire is made up of three women, Ann Rabson (If I could play blues piano, I’d like to play like she does. She also plays guitar), Gaye Adegbalola (guitar) and Andra Faye McIntosh (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, acoustic bass)(and they all sing).

Above:  Gaye, Andra, Ann

We’ve seen Saffire twice – once in concert at the Carolina Theater in Durham, NC and again at the Festival for the Eno, also in Durham. We were lucky enough to be in one of the first few rows at the Carolina Theater, and their concert was fantastic! Full of energy, attitude, and….innuendo. And they had a very enthusiastic audience – the most vocal of whom were women.

Later, when I found out that they were playing at the Festival – which usually has lots of families – I wondered how they would manage. They’d have to take out songs like “Lightning in These Thunder Thighs” and “B* with a Bad Attitude.”  You should also listen to these on Old New Borrowed & Blue  (along with "Fools' Night Out," "You Got to Know How," and "Don't You Tell Me"). 

“Bad Attitude” (by band member Gaye Adegbalola) starts out with a plaintive line from a Whitney Houston song (written by Dolly Parton):

“If I stay, I’d just be in the way…”

But then they add the attitude:

So, I’ll stay right here, and I’m gonna make you pay!
I’m gonna call up the cops and tell ‘em where you keep your stash,

Gonna call up your mama and tell her when you took her cash.
Gonna take the teeth I bought ya, let you chew it with your gums.
You wanted some excitement; well I’ve only just begun!
What you’ve got, baby is a …[full title goes here]

They did take out those songs for the Festival – but kept it energetic and attitudish, though PG.


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