4801 South Indiana Avenue
Keeping The Blues Alive Records
Joanna Connor is a Chicago based singer & songwriter who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. She was magnetically drawn to the blues of The Windy City. She has shared the stage with James Cotton, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy.
Connor released her first recording “Believe It” on the Blind Pig Record label in 1989. She released three more studio recordings on that imprint including 1992’s “Fight” produced by Jim Gaines. She signed with M.C. Records in 2002 and released three albums for them including 2016’s “Six String Stories” and her last album 2019’s “Rise”.
This is Connor’s fourteenth album overall. The album’s title “4801 South Indiana Avenue” comes from the street address of the famous Blues landmark “Theresa’s Lounge”. This album of nine obscure covers and one original was produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith. Connor knows Bonamassa because years ago he opened for her at Chicago’s House of Blues back porch Stage. Connor adds Bonamassa always wanted to make an album for her. Connor, guitar and vocals; is accompanied by Bonamassa and Smith, guitars; Reese Wynans, keyboards; Calvin Turner, bass and horn arrangements; Lamar Carter, drums; and the three-piece horn section of Steve Patrick, trumpet; Mark Douthit, sax; and Barry Green, trombone. The album was recorded at Nashville’s Ocean Way Studios.
The obscure covers on this recording include the houserockin’ opening track “Destination” featuring all three guitars, sung by Connor and special guest Jimmy Hall; it was written by The Nighthawks (Jimmy Thackery, Mark Wenner, Peter Ragusa and Jan Zukowski) and first appeared on their 1982 album “Ten Years Live”.
Theodore Taylor better known as Hound Dog recorded the song “Sadie”, renamed here “Come Back Home” featuring Wynans on piano and Connor on slide; Taylor died in 1975 but the song appears on his posthumous 2004 collection “Release The Hound” on Alligator Records.
Luther Allison’s “Bad News Is Coming”, co-written with producer Joe Peraino and Paul White, was the title track off of Allison’s 1972 Gordy Records album, a subsidiary of Motown; Connor’s vocal is fabulous. “I Feel So Good (I Wanna Boogie)” from Magic Sam appeared on his 1981 album “Magic Sam Live”; guitarist Connor really knows how to boogie.
“For The Love of a Man”, originally titled “For The Love of a Woman” written by Don Nix, is from Albert King’s 1971 “Lovejoy” album. “Please Help” written by J.B. Hutto and first recorded by Hound Dog Taylor, it was also included on Hutto’s 1996 posthumous compilation “Pet Cream Man”. Connor is fabulous on Lowell Folsom’s “Trouble, Trouble”; on Mel London’s “Cut You Loose”; and on Clay Hammond’s “Part Time Love”. The only original is the closer, “It’s My Time”, written by Smith; Connor shows us “why” as it features a biographical narrative.
It’s always great when a genuine blues guitarist/vocalist does a set like the one included here. While this is being hailed as her best album, on everything Connor does, she is always at her best. She is as good as it gets.
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