Reviewed May 2001
by R. Thomas Marion
Teeny Tucker
tommy's girl
self produced, no #

Is it me or is there an army of offspring of blues greats bring the blues into the new millennium?
Teeny Tucker is the daughter of the great Tommy Tucker. Tommy Tucker's fame these days
rests mostly and sadly on one great tune from 1964, "High Heel Sneakers." But what a great
tune that is.
This is a great CD, her first if I'm not mistaken. The songs are all high visibility covers, selected
by Teeny. What sets these covers off from the original is her voice. Her voice reminds me of no
one else, but clearly belongs up there in the stratosphere of the grand dames of great big
voices: Big Maybelle, Helen Humes, Etta James, and yes, even Aretha. The backing band is
wonderful, if not perfect for a blues album. Not too much, not too little, brought taught by
dynamics just as dynamics are used to release the tension. Guitar work by Sean Carney
reminds me of the late Clarence Hollomon or Wayne Bennett, not too much, just enough to
complement the song. Teeny clearly thinks highly of him as well by asking him to step forward
for a solo during Helen Humes torch tune, "Million Dollar Secret."
A sweetly delicate violin is used along with piano only to back her on "At Last," a song owned
and ruled by Etta James. Teeny draws the listener into the song just as Etta did over 40 years
ago. Of course, Tommy's tune, "High Heels Sneakers" is here. Done as a duet with Willie Pooch
(sorry, I have no more information on him), it is done as a call and response for a date with the
red dress, high heel sneakers, and boxing gloves with the same bounce and liveliness as the
original, breathing more life into this tireless war horse. Teeny wraps her voice around "I'd
Rather Go Blind" and brings the pain out it. Teeny's version lands somewhere between Etta's
and Kokos.
The blues as a music is something akin to a religion. The point is to get the blues off you, just
as a religion is to get the sin out of you. This message comes clear in the old nugget, "A
Change Is Gonna Come," with a wonderful tenor sax solo by Gene Walker. The real revelation
is Teeny taking on a song owned by Aretha. This takes a lot of nerve for sure, but Teeny does it
with only piano and backing vocal accompaniment. Oh, and how glorious she does it. Does she
diminish Aretha's version? No. Indeed, she does not diminish any of the originals. She simply
has added her voice to the chorus of great women vocalists, and a happy result that is for all of
us. To get this CD send $15 to: Sean Carney, PO Box 82101,
Columbus, OH 43202