Victoria-based vocalist Maureen Washington's Blues in the Night...and Stories My Mama Told Me is an inspired, impressive collection of performances. Backed by Karel Roessingh's elegantly bluesy piano, Washington reshapes an eclectic repertoire of her mother's favourite tunes with a smoldering, understated vocal approach.
Her readings of Etta James' R&B classic At Last and Norah Jones' hit Come Away With Me burn with restraint and strength. Her version of Peel Me a Grape is more dramatic and features exquisite timing and taste. Backed by Roessingh's funky, parlor piano phrasing and masterful solo, it's a delight, as is Washington's equally theatrical reinvention of her blues title track. She works more restrained, subtle magic on vintage country material You Don't Know Me and Turn Me On. Georgia gets an even more soulful reading.
A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square and The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face are stark, revealing readings, and the deep blues vocal on Stormy Monday wraps up a triumphant recording. Great!
Needless to say, I loved it.