I've been waiting for this for a long time--a group of unabashedly feminist musicians, powerful in spirit and funky in attitude, able to fuse deep blues passion with the joyful assertiveness of liberation. Not as overtly political as, say, Holly Near or Sweet Honey in the Rock, they pay jaunty tribute to the great women blues singers (including Ida "Wild Women Don't Have the Blues" Cox), and fill their set with everything from "take no mess from that man" type anthems ("Take It On Back") to aching testimonials of vulnerability and despair ("Drown in My Own Tears," the lovely "Silent Thunder in My Heart"). Forget stereotypes of dour, politically correct feminists--Saffire are as irreverent ("The Middle Aged Blues Boogie") as they are assertive; Gaye Adegbalola's voice soars ecstatically over everything with the knowing gracefulness of a singer who proudly (and sexily) proclaims that "age ain't nothing but a number"; and behind it all is a soulful, gospel-tinged musical backing that brings a profound joy to everything they do. Tonight, B.L.U.E.S. Etcetera, 1124 W. Belmont; 525-8989.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Norm Shafer.