At age 70, Ruth Brown
was still in full command of her powers when she cut this beaut of an album in 1998. Fueled by an all-star band featuring Duke Robillard
on guitar and New Orleans session stalwarts like James Singleton
on bass, keyboardist Davell Crawford
, alto saxophonist Ray Moore
, and a core group that also serves as her touring outfit, this record was cut live with all the musicians (including a full horn section) playing at once with no overdubs, a throwback to her recording modus operandi at Atlantic back in the 1950s. The songs are first-rate, featuring new compositions from soul tunesmith Dan Penn
("Can't Stand a Broke Man," "Be Good to Me Tonight"), torchy ballads ("Never Let Me Go," "A Lover Is Forever," "The Richest One," "I Believe I Can Fly," and "True"), riotous spoken word fables ("Cabbage Head" and "H.B.'s Funky Fable"), and solid rhythm numbers ("Hangin' by a Shoestring," "Ice Water in Your Veins"), all expertly played and sung. Far from being on the downhill side of things, Brown
demonstrated that there was still plenty of gas left in the tank when she cut this one.