ROSIE FLORES – WORKING GIRL’S GUITAR
2012 – Bloodshot Records
I’ve been a fan of Rosie ever since her first solo album release in 1987 ‘Rosie Flores,’ and have often wondered why this extraordinarily gifted singer, songwriter and guitarist is not as much of a household name as Emmylou, Dolly, et al. This tremendous album goes
some way towards explaining why. It is that oft used word ‘diversity.’ Rosie is not content to stay within the confines of ‘country music,’ preferring instead to not only cover country music but to include all of it’s offshoots, including rockabilly, of which she is a master (mistress?) and then move into surf rock and even a little jazziness, the latter on, of all things, a George Harrison Beatles song! Her versatile vocals are incredibly feminine and full of character, the equal as far as I’m concerned of the two already mentioned women, but her guitar playing puts her in the top division of guitar plyers, which is probably what enables her to switch between sub genres at will. She has worked with numerous top notch artists including the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Wanda Jackson and Janis Martin and her own albums contain a pretty much who’s who of side people, as you would expect from the music industry for such a highly rated performer. This album includes the likes of Greg Leisz on pedal steel guitar and Noah levy on drums and percussion, even including Bobby Vee on backing vocals!
Rosie produced this excellent album herself and of the nine songs she co wrote three of them. The most unusual track is the album closer George Harrisons While My Guitar gently Weeps, here done as a late night jazzy song. Very few could carry the song off in this way but her expressive vocals and brilliant jazz guitar playing copes easily with a song of which virually every person on the planet is familiar with the original. The album opens with the hard driving twangy country rock of Ritchie Mintz’s Working Girl’s Guitar, a song that shows vocally Rosie can rock with the best and gives further emphasis to her at times extraordinary guitar virtuosity. There then follows the three Rosie co-writes, the first, Little But Loud, penned with Rachel Gladstone, is a mid tempo rock ‘n’ roller followed by Yeah Yeah, again written with Rachel Gladstone but also with Pat Gallagher. This is a gorgeous country ballad with a haunting steel guitar, Rosie’s twangy guitar and her sweet, tender vocals that give the song a gorgeous 1950s feel. There then follows the instrumental Surf Demon #5, which she wrote with Tommy Vee, a tune aptly described by the title and again giving full vent to Rosie’s guitar playing. If bravery exists in music Rosie shows plenty of it with her interpretation of Bernard Weinmans Too Much, a song made famous by the young Elvis Presley. Rosie’s vocals are totally at home and sound beautifully natural on this old rock ‘n’ roller but really the song is dominated by her incredible guitar playing that ensures no one has made a better interpretation of the song!
It would be easy to extol the virtues of every song on this entertaining album that is pretty much a sumnation of the versatility and diversity of this hugely talented lady. Go on, buy it and help make her the household name she
deserves to be! You won’t regret it and if you explore her back catalogue you will see that this excellent album is a worthy edition to a lengthy list of tremendous recordings.