various artists,
From Matrimony to Alimony:
Blues for Good Love Gone Bad

(Telarc, 2002)

Cudo's to everyone at Telarc for the original concept and production of their newest recording, From Matrimony to Alimony: Blues for Good Love Gone Bad. This collection contains a dozen blues tracks specifically selected to examine the human condition with a broken heart, a dying marriage and love gone south. When it comes to expressing intense emotion or explaining personal situations, the blues has been doing both with style and proficiency for countless generations.

Although the theme is serious in nature, it certainly doesn't lend itself to any dark, depressing tones while listening. Several tracks talk of sadness and anger, while others evoke hope, strength and even humor. What you're certain to find on From Matrimony to Alimony is a compilation of great performances with each artist sharing a perspective on true love turned sour.

The disc features a first-class lineup of incredible talent from the label's extensive roster, widely considered the very best in contemporary blues. Recent additions to the label are Tab Benoit with "Her Mind Is Gone" and "Deal With It," harpist Charlie Musslewhite with "Life Will Be Better" and "Faithless Lover," Jimmy Thackery with "I Still Want to Be Your Man," and newest member Joe Louis Walker with a powerful delta blues number, "Strangers in Our House." Returning talents from the label are harp veteran Junior Wells with "Trying to Get Over You" and Kenny Neal with the opening track, "No More One More Chance." Neal's track is the perfect number to get things started, sounding more like a duet with vocalist Andre Re.

This new recording may seem focused on relationships breaking apart or marital upheaval, but it also reads like the label's "best of" or greatest hits. Either way, there's plenty of great music here to satisfy. If you're dealing with a divorce or separation, maybe From Matrimony to Alimony can be helpful or therapeutic in some way. For those of you happily married or in healthy relationships, don't let the concept discourage you from getting a copy. There isn't a bad track to be found; from beginning to end, you get the very best in blues.

- Rambles
written by Pamela L. Dow
published 14 December 2002

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