Missy Andersen – Missy Andersen
Living Blues
By Lee Hildebrand
October 2009

Detroit-born, San Diego-based vocalist Missy Andersen, a former member of Earl Thomas’ Juke Joint Jezebelles, steps out on her own with an impressive debut disc cut in Copenhagen. Although she began her career as a rapper, Andersen has a real feel for the blues and soul and richly resonant, at times throaty contralto tones that she uses to both caress and bite down on the material at hand. Husband Heine Andersen plays some incisive, brittle- toned guitar and fronts a solid rhythm section in which organist Jeppe Juul contributes some churchy Hammond organ solos and chords. A horn section is added for four selections.

The repertoire ranges from the very familiar to lesser-known gems and a couple of originals. I Can’t Stand The Rain and Tell Mama have been done to death, but on the latter tune, she is especially expressive as she rides guest Wurlitzer organist Paul Cougill’s buoyant hurdy-gurdylike groove, which gives the song a flavor different from those of either the Ann Peebles, Graham Central Station, or Tina Turner versions. Tell Mama unfortunately has a bar band feel to it, but the singer makes up for this temporary lapse of judgment with terrific renditions of two tunes associated with Freddie King-the Don Nix-penned blues ballad Same Old Blues and the mediumtempo rocker Pack It Up-O.V. Wright’s Ace Of Spades, and Junior Wells’ Little By Little.

Even stronger are the two original numbers, both about movement. For New Feet, written by Missy and Heine Andersen and drummer Asmus Jensen, she draws on her gospel roots. “I’m walking with trouble/down the same old street/To move it in another direction/I need new feet,” she sings in a manner that suggests a Mavis Staples influence as the band lays down a loping two-beat shout rhythm. The best comes last: Stand Up And Dance, composed by Mr. Andersen and North Carolina singer-songwriter Hattie Wilcox, is a contemporary acoustic country blues on which Mrs. Andersen wails joyously over a bouncing Mississippi Delta beat supplied by her husband’s finger-picked guitar, guest musician Nathan James’ shimmering Dobro, unobtrusive shakes of a tambourine, and someone’s gently stomping foot.