Ike & Tina Turner | Sing The Blues

Acrobat (2008)
By GUSTAVO TURNER  |  October 29, 2008
4.0 4.0 Stars
Aretha grew up in church, with a doting father guiding her prodigious talent, and ended up longing to be a classical pianist. Tina grew up on the road, with an abusive jerk svengali-ing the shit out of her, and ended up selling Pepsi with David Bowie and counting her millions in Switzerland. But around 1969–1971, when the recordings on this surprising reissue were released by the legendary Blue Thumb label, their paths did not look so divergent. Here’s Tina tackling Stax/Volt standards (along with Eddie Boyd and Chuck Willis tunes and the ancient blues repertory), and it’s amazing what her sweaty-sheets swagger can do to the familiar Memphis sound of the Queen and Otis. In Tina’s hands, “I’ve Been Loving You So Too Long” is an overheated tour de force arranged like Side 1 of Abbey Road. The band’s take on Jimmy Reed’s “Honest I Do” is some of the best black country music ever recorded — the kind of sound Mick Jagger would have given up a testicle to achieve on Exile on Main Street. It is now a commonplace (particularly after his death last year) to give Ike his musical due and try to rescue his artistry from the Larry Fishburne/Tim Meadows buffoonery engraved on most people’s perceptions; but the uncomfortable truth is that Tina did her best work during their troubled partnership. It’s unclear what love — or hate — has got to do with superior music, but chances are you’ll be spinning this long after you’ve forgotten your copy of “Private Dancer.”
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