Before deciding to buy this album, I read some reviews that had already appeared on Amazon.com, paying particular attention to some critical reviews by dedicated blues fans, including one who is also a fan of Cyndi's pop music. Their basic complaint appears to be that Cyndi doesn't have a voice to do the music justice. Certainly, Cyndi makes no attempt to adapt her voice to the music in any way, and why should she? On one level, I agree with them - if what you are looking for is raw, uncompromising blues music, this album doesn`t provide it. I enjoy that kind of music too, but having also read some of the more enthusiastic reviews, I sensed that for me at least, those criticisms don't matter. I knew just from the reviews, without hearing a single note, that I was likely to enjoy this album, and so it proved.
This album may lack some of the rough edges that are so characteristic of the music that dedicated blues fans love, but the absence of those rough edges gives the music a different kind of appeal - one that Cyndi's own fans, myself among them, can appreciate. For this album, Cyndi recruited a stellar cast of blues musicians including Allen Toussaint, B B King, Charlie Musselwhite, Ann Peebles and Jonny Lang, ensuring that the music itself is authentic.
Though Cyndi often writes her own songs, she did not do so for this album , opting instead to cover a selection of songs that are apparently well known among blues fans and musicians, but which I don't instantly recognize just by playing the album, though it`s very likely that I`ve heard at least some of these songs somewhere before; however, this album is likely to cause me to look for some of the originals in due course. Overall, the album contains a mix of tempos, beginning with the bouncy Just your fool. The UK edition (which I own) has an extra track not available on the standard US edition, that track being Wild women don't have the blues. I'm assuming it is a cover of the Ida Cox song from 1961, but as the credit for that song is not listed and as I haven't heard the song elsewhere, I can't confirm it.
Picking out highlights is tough on an album that features so much great music, but ultimately what you think of the album will depend on what you think of Cyndi Lauper recording a blues album. Personally, I think it's a wonderful album, but I can understand why others might have doubts. We don't all share the same tastes and it would be a dull world if we did.