Essie The Blues Lady | Shape Up

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Albert King B.B. King Little Milton

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United States - Arkansas

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Blues: Funky Blues Blues: Urban Blues Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Shape Up

by Essie The Blues Lady

Blues queen teaches lessons in life----shut up and listen.
Genre: Blues: Funky Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Which Way Did My Friends Go
4:31 $0.99
2. My Guitar - My Zone
6:09 $0.99
3. You Make 'Em - You Shake 'Em
4:53 $0.99
4. Bluer Than Blue
3:51 $0.99
5. Shape Up Or Ship Out
4:39 $0.99
6. Loser, Good-Bye
4:53 $0.99
7. Give A Little, Get A Little
4:22 $0.99
8. After Your Money
5:07 $0.99
9. Memphis Fever
3:49 $0.99
10. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
4:46 $0.99
11. The Fat Will Hit The Fan
3:47 $0.99
12. Gold Diggin' Friends
4:53 $0.99
13. We Gotta Pray (Some More)
4:42 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
If there is ever a competition for a female to be named the B. B. King musical counterpart, if Essie the Blues Lady doesn‘t win that honor, you can be assured that she will be a very strong contender. Born and reared in central Arkansas, Essie spent much of her early childhood slipping and sliding up and down the river banks, fishing and hunting with her family. There was much work and little income, so the family members turned to the wild to supplement their livelihood.

While some people have to break away from their normal way of life and make a special effort to grasp what the blues is all about, Essie states “This is not so in my case. I was born into the blues; I was reared on the blues; and I’m a product of the blues. If you’re talking about wearing hand-me-down clothes, cars breaking down, and pinching pennies to get by, you’re talking about the life I've lived.”

Despite the shortcomings regarding “style and keeping up with the Joneses”, there were no shortcomings when it came to happiness. When the chores were done and the sun set in the evening, it was “music time.” Essie’s father played several instruments and her mother sang. Essie and her sisters and brothers would listen for hours (and join in, of course).

Essie, determined to learn to play, started picking her dad’s guitar when he was at work. He acknowledged her interest and started teaching her tunes he knew by Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Howling Wolf, etc. One of her dad’s friends would show her a few licks when he visited the family. He once told Essie the blues was a man’s music. Obviously, Essie let that comment go in one ear and swiftly out the other. Her dad bought for her several
B. B. King records and told her she could play anything she wanted to play - just practice hard.

Essie listened to "The King" every day and every night and strove to replicate what she heard. When her dad was convinced that she was going to stick with it, he made the decision to buy her an electric guitar, instead of buying the family a new washing machine that was desperately needed. Needless to say, that didn’t go over too well with her mother at the time. However, Essie says her mom is the first one to say these days “I‘m so happy your daddy got that guitar for you instead of the washing machine.” Essie and her sisters formed an all-girl band in the '70s (Queen Bee and the Soul Seekers)and traveled throughout Arkansas and the surrounding states performing their music.

One might wonder about Essie’s outlook on life since she was deprived of the finer material things when growing up. Prior to a recent concert, she was asked the following questions: (1) Given a choice, what type of house would you live in? (2) What brand of clothing would you wear? and (3) What make of car would you drive? Essie chuckled and stated “A mansion or a teepee - they’re about the same to me. As long as I’m warm in the winter and comfortable in the summer, brand names don‘t really matter either. But so far as a car, make no mistake, the car I prefer to drive for the rest of my life (whether old or new; sleek or battered) is the one that will take me where I want to go and bring me home again -without leaving me stranded alongside the road.”

As Essie, The Blues Lady turned to walk onstage, she glanced back and shouted “But don’t mess with my guitar, ‘Ruckus‘!”



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Excellent B.B. King's deep south blues style
Essie the Blues Lady is Essie Neal and she recorded a 45 in 1971 which is now a collector's item among blues buffs all over the world. She apparently had to wait a long time to record again but, judging the high quality of this present offering, the waiting was well worth. Great guitar coming from the Soul with spare, full of feeling and very efficient licks. Good personal compositions just telling like it is in the great Southern blues & Soul tradition. Hope this is a real comeback and there are more records to come. Essie should tour Europe where I'm pretty sure she would receive a warm welcom