Missy Andersen Feature
In the Basement
By David Cole
#57 – Spring 2010

Born in Detroit and raised in Queens, New York, Missy Andersen began singing at the age of six and made her single debut in her teens with ‘Be For Real’ under the moniker Denyce ‘Flip’ Isaac, which led to her being the opening act for Cissy Houston on a series of club dates. After moving to San Diego, California, she met soul-blues man Earl Thomas in the late nineties, touring with him for several years. More recently, she has fronted the San Diego-based band, Tell Mama – her version of the coincidentally-named Etta James song here is a real stormer – before striking out on her own.

This eponymous set was recorded in Denmark and co-produced with husband, bandleader, and guitarist Heine Andersen. Real musicians adorn the set,m including an appearance by Nathan James, who plays a prominent slide guitar on the ‘Stand Up and Dance’ closer, one of just two originals, the other being the tough, bluesy ‘New Feet’, driven by horns, guitar, and organ.

The whole set gets under way with a gutsy take on Deadric Malone’s ‘Ace of Spades’ as Missy’s forceful vocals sit atop horns and drums, while Ann Peebles’ hit ‘I Can’t Stand the Rain’ chugs along complete with a Wurlitzer break – courtesy of Paul Cougill – and ‘Little By Little’, a song Moody Scott recorded in 2004 (and no doubt others before him), is a loping number.

Elsewhere, there are two numbers associated with Freddie King: “Pack It UP’, a bit of a plodder – not intended as an adverse criticism – and the set’s cream cut, the down tempo blues of ‘Same Old Blues’, also recorder by Irma Thomas (on her 2008, ‘Simply Grand’ set). It really shows off Missy’s fine vocals and makes me wish she had tackled more numbers in a slow vein – maybe next time. For now, this comes highly recommended.