Another excellent album from the Chicago Queen of the Blues, this one from 1981 midway in her recording career which spanned from 1968 (aged 40) through to 2007, not far short of her eightieth birthday and her death. Koko Taylor is a remarkable blues singer with a very powerful voice edged with glass paper. She can "blow up a storm" or sing with deep emotion, as in her rendition of "I'd Rather Go Blind" (made popular in the UK by Rod Stewart). There are no Willie Dixon songs, nor covers of Muddy Waters or "the Wolf" on this album but that doesn't detract. This is an album of Chicago Blues performed by one of its greatest exponents along with her backing band which has supported her career for many years. They are a great team.
An early-'80s jazz-pop-R&B synthesis as durable and pleasing as any other, Straight from the Heart was Patrice Rushen's most successful album, at least from a sales standpoint: it peaked at number 14 on the pop chart, 25 slots higher than 1980's Pizzazz. Still working with a core group of associates — including Freddie Washington, Charles Mims, Paul M. Jackson, and Marlo Henderson (along with a still young Gerald Albright) — that went back to her earlier Elektra albums, the material here is as slick as ever, but not at the expense of lighter rhythms or less memorable melodies. Much of the album's popularity can be attributed to the club hit "Forget Me Nots," Rushen's most-known single — a breezy, buoyant mixture of handclaps, fingersnaps, twisting bass, and Rushen's typically blissful (and not overplayed) electric piano, not to mention the incorporation of a bad bass-and-percussion breakdown.
The Chansonnier Cordiforme is a songbook, probably copied in 1475 for a roguish but musically cultivated priest named Jean de Montchenu a contemporary chronicler called him 'dissolute and full of all the vices'. The beautiful manuscript containing 43 songs is, uniquely, heart-shaped and covered in velvet. This recording presents both a representative cross-section of the manuscript's repertoire, the majority of which is set to French texts and is among the best known and beautiful of the age, and a portfolio of differing performance options including instruments.