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Sandy Atkinson - Collection

Gator Blues Publishing

21 songs; 78 minutes

Styles: Electric and Acoustic Blues; Blues Rock; Jazzy Blues; Ballads

In the world of collectors, each aficionado has a specific name. For example, philatelists treasure stamps, and numismatists gather coins. What, then, is the proper term for a Tampa FL songstress such as Sandy Atkinson, presenting her latest “Collection” via Gator Blues Publishing? This reviewer has invented a title for her: an “azulist,” from the Spanish word meaning “blue.” Atkinson collects blues songs in all of their artistic varieties: electric, acoustic, blues rock, jazz-influenced blues, and ballads. Her vocals, breathy, raspy and low, are more reminiscent of Macy Gray than Ma Rainey. Fans of that particular singing style will be impressed. Throughout twenty-one original tracks, Sandy reminds us that what makes any collection precious is the uniqueness of each item within it. Just as no two coins or stamps are exactly the same, no two songs are identical on this album. Even though they have been featured on her previous five CDs, devotees will find them worth another listen.

What inspired this new “Collection?” Atkinson candidly explains, “Music is fun and it is my refuge. It will always be my first true love, no matter what happens.”

Songs of note:
Track 4: “Wild Thing”--Subtitled “Mary's Blues.” This is a heartfelt acoustic tribute to a “real blues mama.” Containing slight echoes of Stevie Ray Vaughan's “Life by the Drop,” its rollicking tempo and wicked acoustic guitar (Tomcat Blake) and Dobro (Richard Price) are this song's greatest draws. Forget the Kingsmen classic of the same title; this “Wild Thing” is a totally different animal!

Track 13: “She's Just a Floozy”-- For a sample of the most traditional acoustic-led blues, heed Atkinson's warning. Its track number, 13, is bad luck and perilous, as is its female subject! Sandy minces no words, and spares no sneering in her vocals here: “She's got a reputation for flirting with the men, of going out and staying out, not telling where she's been. I know what I'm talking about....” Blues fans will, too, once they know of this “floozy!”

Track 21: “Blues Christmas Dream.” Just in time for the holiday season comes this whispered twist on a classic Christmas poem: “He tossed and he turned, and he hummed a blues tune. Then he curled up his lips as his fingers started to move. And all of a sudden, with no warning at all, he jumped straight up in the air and just didn't fall! But he reached down the line and he picked up his harp. He started to play like some W.C. Handy star! He played Lightning, Sonny Boy, Howlin' Wolf, too!” Is this track surreal? Yes. Is it intriguing? Also yes! Perhaps, deep down in their hearts, every genuine blues fan wants to have this dream.

If one wishes to see Sandy Atkinson live, one might find her at such Florida venues as Skipper's Smokehouse, Ale and the Witch, and most notably, the Palladium Theater. Before heading down to the Sunshine State, however, one should take a look and listen at her 2011 “Collection!”

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 32 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.  

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