CD REVIEW: Marcia Ball’s ‘Tatooed Lady and the Alligator Man’ a stew of relationship storytelling

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Blues singer and piano player Marcia Ball returns with the 13th studio album of her career, “The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man.”
The album art, and a related publicity photo, imply that Ball is the carnival freak show “Tatooed Lady” in the song. Fortunately though, it looks like it’s just that particular outfit that makes her look like she has creepy, all-over ink.
Standout new tracks by this multiple Blues Music Award-winning Gulf Coast blues/New Orleans R&B songwriter include the tasty party gumbo of “Like There’s No Tomorrow;” the zydeco belt-tightening lament “The Squeeze is On,” with Terrance Simien on accordion (Get it? Squeeze is on?); and the soulful “Human Kindness.” Hopefully these all are in the set list for her June 12 show at Sellersville Theater, a venue that seems like it’s a favorite of the Alligator Records artist.

“Just Keep Holding On” has a familiar, classic hits vibe, while “Hot Springs” takes you in an unexpected Southern direction “way up in Arkansas.”
Other songs send troubling mixed messages about the male gender. “Clean My House” and “Get You a Woman” are begging for angry answer songs. However, the tender “He’s the One” (with good guitar and saxophone solos by Ball’s crack band) has an entirely different attitude. Then on “Can’t Blame Nobody But Myself,” which features Delbert McClinton on harmonica, she sings: “My good man left me/I don’t blame him; ‘cause everything I do is just a crime or a sin.”
Well, at least she’s equal opportunity.


What: Marcia Ball in concert with opener Jamie McLean.
When: 8 p.m. June 12.
Where: Sellersville Theater 1894, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville.
Tickets: $29.50 and $45.
Info.: Call (215) 257-5808 or visit www.st94.com.

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