Rory Block – Prove It On Me
Label: Stony Plain Records
Prove It On Me , an album full of breathtaking musicianship and haunting beauty, is the latest from the six-time Blues Music Award-winner Rory Block. The second installment in her “Power Women of the Blues” series (dedicated to exploring the music of some of her favorite iconic female blues artists), the album follows the critically-acclaimed 2018 release of her first CD in the series, a tribute to the legendary Bessie Smith titled A Woman’s Soul.
One of the effects of hearing these songs is the inspiration to research the artists who originally gave life to them. One example is the satisfaction that comes from having looked up Lottie Kimbrough online and gaining some appreciation for an artist a previously known to me. According to Wikipedia, Lottie Kimbrough was born in either 1893 or 1900, and the date of her death is unknown, which came as a bit of a shock to my ears. I was fully prepared to read that she was a living artist, so contemporary is Rory Block’s delivery of her song, “Wayward Girl.”
The album’s title tune, “Prove It On Me,” is delivered with such alluring storytelling that you will find yourself wanting to track down the original by “Ma” Rainey. If you do, you’ll discover that Ms. Block has captured all of the sauciness while adding her own forthrightness. Another captivating discovery on the album is the tribute to Rosetta Howard, “If You’re A Viper.” Bringing her own occasionally raspy vocals to this classic, Rory Block exemplifies the notion that blues, even those from a century ago, are one of the most contemporary of genres, and justifies her entire “Power Women of the Blues” series.