New York-based blues-singer SARI SCHORR initially earned the respect of the blues world, after several years of touring the US and Europe with blues legend, Joe Louis Walker and renowned guitarist Popa Chubby.
But when the British producer Mike Vernon [Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Bluesbreakers, Ten Years After etc.] saw her perform at a function, he offered to come out of semi-retirement to produce her new album — A Force of Nature.
Sari’s new band for this project, THE ENGINE ROOM, features stunning British guitarist Innes Sibun who worked with Vernon on his Blues Explosion project. Walter Trout and Oli Brown collaborated on the album.
We have been listening to the new single taken from “ A Force of Nature – Sari Schorr & The Engine Room”
Schorr has taken the Lead Belly work song “BLACK BETTY ” and given it a good shake.
[The number was originally recorded in 1933, though its probably much older.]
The song was made most famous by Ram Jam in 1977 where it was re-jigged for a modern rock audience.
On the Schorr version there is a janglesome dusty start to the bouncy boisterous number … As if we have come across the band [with John Baggott on keys, Nani Conde on bass & Jose Mena on drums] dozing it off in a shack near the Caddo Parish Correctional Centre.
But things start getting brighter, very quickly — when the lyrical voice of Schorr cuts through the snapbeans of rhythm, to pace us into a forgotten world of violence, anguish and terrible pain.
Her words lead us to the very lip of magnificent glory — pure hot salvation that comes in the shape of redemptional guitar — [from Sibun. ] This is simply the best break we have heard in years-and-years. Check it below.
“Black Betty” might well refer to a gun [Leadbelly was convicted of carrying a pistol] — he probably used it. On the other hand, the protagonist might be a servant — scourged, mistreated and raped. Whatever the interpretation — the anger, the desire and the heated passion heated is all very clear. Also the resounding regret… Which is particularly well-handled in this intense version.
For fans of Bessie Smith, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald and of course, Lead Belly.
Words: Neil Mach 2016 ©
Black Betty – Single – Sari Schorr & The Engine Room