Marcia Ball is the Auntie Mame of the blues. Worldly. Wise. Loving. And unapologetic. "Life is a banquet," said Auntie Mame, "and most poor suckers are starving to death!"
Shine Bright, Ball's new album, celebrates the banquet of life. "Be the life of the party," she sings about a party that's all the livelier with the sizzle of calypso.
Great grooves always have been the hallmark of a Marcia Ball performance. She was born in Texas. She grew up in Louisiana. "It was always a lot easier to go party in Louisiana!" she says. "Take a Little Louisiana," she sings, "everywhere you go!"
Her heart beats on both sides of the stateline. Texas blues and boogie. Louisiana swamp rock and soul. Irma Thomas, the soul queen of New Orleans, inspired a young Marcia to sing. Professor Longhair, piano master of Mardi Gras, inspired a young Marcia at the keys. She sings about Irma and Fess on the new album's title song. She sings about so many others who've inspired her life. "Shine bright!" she sings. Just like Jackie Robinson. Just like Neil Armstrong. And her other idols. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Martin Luther King. "Shine bright" like them, she sings. "Be who you want to be!"
Fifty years she's been making music, especially on the road. Far away from her long-time hometown, Austin. Singing with a voice so soulful and even spiritual. Playing piano two-fisted — and with her phenomenally long legs stomping! "Fifty years have passed in a flash," she says. Not that she's slowing down. Keep on looking for love, she sings. And hang on to the love you find. And make this world, she sings as if the Gospel according to Marcia, a "World Full of Love." Enjoy that every moment of your life is a "Once in a Lifetime Thing." And whatever you do, sing along with Marcia "I'm Glad I Did What I Did."
Shine Bright is Marcia's liveliest album — and was meant to be. She said she wanted "to make the best Marcia Ball record I could make." And she's glad that she did. She shines bright!
1) Shine Bright
2) I Got To Find Somebody
3) They Don't Make 'Em Like That
4) Life Of The Party
5) What Would I Do Without You
6) When The Mardi Gras Is Over
7) Once In A Lifetime Thing
8) Pots And Pans
9) World Full Of Love
10) I'm Glad I Did What I Did
11) Too Much For Me
12) Take A Little Louisiana