While Rory Block may not be a household name, she has been singing the gospel known as the blues for over four decades. An artist that has won the W.C. Handy Blues Award five times during her career, Block is known for passionate guitar playing combined with vocals that have been described as “otherworldly.” In reality, she is pure Americana, purveying our nation’s roots music with an uncompromising passion matched by few others.
Blues Walkin’ Like A Man is a collection of 13 songs written and originally performed by Son House, whom she first met in 1965. In paying homage to her late idol, Block (who first recorded under the pseudonym Sunshine Kate) brings House’s classic material forward some seven decades, offering refreshing, yet gritty, takes on many of his most revered tracks, including “My Black Mama,” “Preachin’ Blues,” “Death Letter,” and “I Want To Go Home on the Morning Train.”
The piece-de-resistance of this disc is heard when Block belts out “Grinnin’ in Your Face,” a song most recently brought to the musical consciousness by Gov’t Mule on its Life Before Insanity CD. While Block performs alone for the majority of Blues Walkin’ Like A Man, her old friend John Sebastian, formerly of The Lovin’ Spoonful,” provides backing harmonica on three tracks.
Blues Walkin’ Like a Man is out now on Stony Plain Music.