Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Saffire

  • The Uppity Blues Women [Alligator, 1990] B+
  • Hot Flash [Alligator, 1991] **
  • The Uppity Blues Women: Deluxe Edition [Alligator, 2006] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Uppity Blues Women [Alligator, 1990]
Instrumentally and vocally, these three Virginia over-40s are folkies. Ann Rabson's woogie piano and Gaye Adegbalola's unamplified guitar are high-generic only--their originality is in their feminist redefinition of blues-circuit raunch. Never again do they get as lewd or as fine as "Middle Aged Blues Boogie," in which Adegbalola stakes her claim on that good young cock (and tongue) as if it was her right as a fully sexed human being, but there's a matter-of-fact candor to "Fess Up When You Mess Up" and "School Teacher's Blues" that's rare among younger guitar poets. And if Rabson has decided in her considerable wisdom never to take care of another man, only an MCP could blame her. B+

Hot Flash [Alligator, 1991]
talking dirty and saying something ("Two in the Bush Is Better Than One in the Hand," "(Mr. Insurance Man) Take Out That Thing for Me") **

The Uppity Blues Women: Deluxe Edition [Alligator, 2006]
A dynamite post-vaudeville act enters history on a best-of that preserves its choicest lines and deepest riffs. Where in the true vaudeville era Butterbeans and Susie regaled the T.O.B.A. circuit with connubial comedy, recovering science teacher Gaye Adegbalola and gap-toothed blueswoman Ann Rabson dramatize not just feminist sex but post-menopausal sex. They prefer young men for their malleability and take shade from no one--only once do they slip into the ladies-love-outlaws trope male songwriters should outlaw. Adegbalola sums up the prevailing mood in "Middle Age Blues Boogie": "I'm throwing away my dustmop/Got a brand new vacuum cleaner/You should hear me when I holler/'Eureka, eureka.'" A-