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Alicia Maxwell - Get Your Priorities Straight
10 songs; 45:33 minutes
Styles: Blues Rock, Modern Electric Blues
As the New Year dawns upon the blues world, Wilmington, Delaware’s Alicia Maxwell warmly invites fans to “Get Your Priorities Straight.” According to her website, nerves got the better of her when she was fifteen and experienced her first blues jam. Back then she wouldn’t climb onstage, but she has since found her courage and clear, ringing voice. She met many talented, fellow musicians that mentored her, including B.J. Muntz, Paul Weik of Lower Case Blues, and Kenny Jones, who co-produced this album and wrote seven of the ten numbers on it. Two of them are just workmanlike covers of some of the most well-known songs in rock history: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” and the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” But, Alicia and Kenny’s original compositions are notable in and of themselves, as these three demonstrate:
“Get Your Priorities Straight”--Sometimes on blues albums, it’s quite
apropos not to have the title track be the opener. “Get Your Priorities
Straight” is a down-and-dirty follow-up to the lightly sweet sentiments
of opener “That’s How I Feel About You.” Here’s what happens when a
significant other doesn’t reciprocate them, and our narrator’s certainly
hasn’t: “Think it over. Don’t make me wait,” Alicia sings
matter-of-factly. “If you want me to love you, get your priorities
straight!” Just in case her lover misses the point, Kenny Jones’ roaring
guitar and Steve Sauer’s pointed piano reinforce it.
“High and Dry”--Carl Cornwell’s mournful yet sultry tenor sax propels
this slow ballad over the line from “good” to “great.” Our narrator’s
once-faithful lover has abandoned her, and Alicia’s despair is palpable.
“Still the same old story, a game played by fools. No reason, no mercy,
just a visit with these blues….” Afterward comes eerie silence: for
Maxwell because her paramour is gone, and for listeners because the
entire album is over.
Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 33 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.