After a good deal of woodshedding with The Mojos, Fiona Boyes cut loose and decided to go solo, a venture that has now slid across a number of releases, Blues for Hard Times being the latest. Nor has she done so unnoted, as no less a blues god than Pinetop Perkins has proclaimed that Boyes is the only female player since Memphis Minnie that has truly knocked his socks off, to which Hubert Sumlin has added "She's got it!—I played with 'em all, and she's got it!" Yow! That's like being a political commentator and having Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky laud your virtues.
Boyes is rightly sent accolades for her great guitar stylings and chipper singing—few can make the blues so jubilant—but I wonder how many pay full attention to her marvelously witty lyrics? I mean, when you come up with killer lines like "I'm gonna drink to your health, baby, 'til I ruin my own", that, m'man, is world class. Then what about this philosophress letting all the menfolk know that it's best to keep the wimmenfolk happy because, well, your lovers tell their friends how damn good you are and then, one day when your one and only decides she's looking for a backdoor man, you now have a gaggle of eager femmes eager to verify her claims as you head out the front door.
Then, of course, there's Pony Ride a paean to just exactly that sport…I think…though it isn't quite about ponies per se…more like a good ride that a tryster and trystee can engage in until they're…satisfied. Er, um, maybe she's singing about Disneyland…but I could be wrong on that. Nonetheless, what you get with Boyes is the full package: guitar playing that'll have you pining for days of yore, singing to charm the magpies outta the trees (and the men out of the poker parlor), and songwriting to match up with the best. This may indeed be Blues for the Hard Times, but it damn well is listening for the good times no matter when you hear it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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