Alabama native turned San Diego mainstay, sexagenarian Dorothy Mae Whitsett — known as Lady Dottie — guides her Diamonds with a smoky, sultry alto through beatific, soulful tunes. Reminiscent of Big Mama Thornton’s presence and gritty sound, mixed with a little of Tina Turner’s sexed-up growl and perseverance, her blues are bright and feverish, writhing with rapid downbeats, sprawling guitars, and ample keys. A lively piano introduces “Why I Sing the Blues,” a testament to pushing through hard times. The Diamonds learn you the true spirit of the blues by delving into the blood and guts of why they’ve gotta be sung. Weathered by hungrier days and harder times than many have known, Lady Dottie & the Diamonds have a grand stamina for boogie, and they step it up with their fierce jivin’ and jazzy sax right to the album’s healthy close.
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