The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man

The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man

Marcia Ball has made a career out of blending the classic roots styles of East Texas and Louisiana, which makes sense since she grew up in the border town of Orange, Texas. On her 15th album, she once again bangs away on the piano roadhouse-style as her small band and special guests help bring the party to life. Long known for her songwriting, Ball emphasizes that more than ever here, writing or cowriting everything but a version of Hank Ballard’s “He’s the One.” Highlights include the jump blues of the title track (the love story is a one-of-a-kind gem) and “Can’t Blame Nobody but Myself” (with Delbert McClinton on harmonica), as well as the funky “Clean My House.” Accordion player Terrance Simien brings some Cajun spice to “The Squeeze Is On,” while “Hot Springs” is the album’s biggest rocker. Ball brings it down for the bluesy ballads “Lazy Blues” and “The Last to Know,” as well as the soulful “Just Keep Holding On.” It’s music that mixes sweat and soul and equal in proportion.

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