Dietra Farr at the 100 Club, London, 14th October 2004
You can tell when an artist of special quality is appearing by the number of fellow artists in attendance. On this night, Big Joe Louis, Otis Grand and Shakey Vick were the musicians come- fans. It was a fair turnout for a Thursday but much less than her debut at the 100 Club in 1998 and if London is not going to continue to miss out when the real deal visits these shores, then more blues fans will have to put their gramophones and foot-stools away for the evening.
Hailing from Chicago, Deitra Farr was joined on this visit by her cousin Carole from Atlanta, Georgia who was seeing her perform for the first time. This may have helped her relax as she eased her way through some excellent blues-soul. Her voice was full-bodied yet clean-sounding – rather like a Guinness (if it could sing) – and she was supported by a British band with Jon ‘T-Bone’ Taylor in superb form on guitar.
Songs from her 1997 JSP album, The Search Is Over, were the mainstay for her, although her take on Marvin Gaye’s How Sweet It Is preceded I’d Rather Be Gone, a song she wrote in a lonely hotel room in Montreal, How Much Longer and Waiting For You.
By the end, however, she was revealing her taste for the blues with two Little Walter songs, Just For You and Mean Old World, Jimmy Reed’s Shame, Shame, Shame and Big Bill Broonzy’s Key To The Highway. She told us that she was returning home Sunday to record a new CD – definitely long overdue
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