Ruthie Foster – Let It Burn

January 01, 1970

(Blue Corn Music)


Known for album titles that attest to her authoritative
stance — The Truth According to Ruthie
, The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster and the like – Ruthie Foster stirs up a sound that affirms those assertions are
indeed well founded. Weaving a powerful blend of Blues, R&B, Gospel and
Folk finesse, Foster’s made a point of testing her parameters even as she
accords due diligence to each of those distinctive genres. So while she’s
christened her new effort with a handle that could be considered just as fiery,
she’s also taken a more reflective direction that emphasizes tenderness over
tenacity and subtlety above sizzle.


Made up mainly of classic covers, she scopes out a wide
array of references, from well-worn standards like “You Don’t Miss Your Water”
(sung side-by-side with its original composer, soul legend William Bell) to
contemporary classics such as “Long Time Gone” by Crosby Stills Nash &
Young, the Band’s “It Makes No Difference” and “Don’t Want To Know” from the
late British singer/songwriter John Martyn. Some of the songs receive utterly
unexpected treatments – the roughshod take on “If I Had a Hammer” and the
mellow musings she gives “Ring of Fire,” sound drastically different than the
originals – but all find a common thread in Foster’s soulful expression.
Participation by the Blind Boys of Alabama on no fewer than four of the 13
tracks also speaks to her humble underpinnings, particularly the two songs that
sandwich the set — the sublime and serene “Welcome Home” and the reverential
acapella hymn “Titanic,” which concludes, appropriately enough, with a distant
rumble of thunder. It might be considered a Divine nod to an album that’s
already fully engulfed in grace.


Don’t Miss Your Water,” “Don’t Want to Know,” “It Makes No Difference” LEE

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