Ghalia Mississippi Blend (Ruf Records)

Mississippi Blend
Ruf Records

Ghalia Mississippi Blend  (Ruf Records)

Review by Greg Johnson

Belgium-based vocalist Ghalia has long been infatuated with the blues. Mississippi Blend is her sophomore release on the European blues label Ruf, and she has returned to the American homeland of the music to craft a serious collection of tunes. To make her approach even more authentic, she recruited renowned Delta and Hill Country artists like Cedric Burnside, Cody Dickinson, Watermelon Slim, and Lightnin’ Malcolm, along with New Orleans guitar player Smokehouse Brown, to provide the right touches behind her voice.

Although she may be a European artist, Ghalia cut her teeth by spending time busking on the streets of the American South, taking in the true sounds of how the music is supposed to sound. And she learned her lessons well as this recording delivers a nice mix of rockin’ tracks that will have you toe-tapping along with its steady pace and beat. Ghalia’s voice has a range of emotions as shown in “Release Me” and in the duet with Watermelon Slim on “Wade In The Water.” The album is a fun, humorous, and at times socially conscious journey of music that hits in all directions with Ghalia leading us like a pied piper charming us along the way.

Total Time: 42:22

Gypsy Lady /Meet You Down the Road / Squeeze / First Time I Died / Lucky Number / Wade in the Water / Drag Me Down / Shake & Repeat / Release Me / Why Don’t You Sell Your Children / I Thought I Told You Not to Tell Them