Shemekia Copeland began her career with Alligator and has four prior Alligator CDs to her credit; this Deluxe Edition represents the highlights from her Alligator work from these CDs and from the Alligator Christmas record. If you have all of her Alligator CD’s there is no need to grab this. 15 of the 16 cuts are from them and the other cut is off of the Houserockin’ Christmas. If her 2009 Telarc release was your first experience with her, there is a good assortment of her earlier work here to get to know. And if Ms. Copeland is completely new to you, I would guess this would serve as a good primer into her stuff.
She’s got a big and solid voice and she is represented well here. Of the newest generation of female blues vocalists, no one has the raw talent that she displays. Power, control, and emotion run from very intimate to breaking glasses. What I did question from time to time was the work written for her. She’s covered great tunes but she’s been handed a variety of quality of new songs to sing over the years. In this sampling we pretty much have the better songs rather than the bad. The Alligator artists and production of the tracks are all solid. All the players here are top notch. Keyboards also abound to round out the sound on all but a track or two. From big rockers like “Wild, Wild Woman” to the slow blues like “Beat Up Guitar”, Ms. Copeland will amaze those new to her work and those familiar with her will enjoy this thoroughly.
Reviewed by Steve Jones