Album Review

Saffire - The Uppity Blues Women, Deluxe Edition

Saffire - The Uppity Blues Women, Deluxe Edition

At times Saffire can display all the literal-mindedness that is the folkie's downfall, but just as often these three outspoken women are trenchant and funny, delivering songs that infuse classic blues tropes with a modern feminist slant. This retrospective of the group's fifteen-year career contains one bona fide classic -- the brash, engaging "Middle Aged Blues Boogie" -- plus a handful of others that come close. "School Teacher's Blues" exposes, in hilarious fashion, inequities in the American workforce (where teachers remain woefully underpaid) while countering the sexism prevalent, and so often accepted, in contemporary blues music. "Silver Beaver", meanwhile, is a total riot; few songs have captured mature female sexuality in so clever and daring a fashion. But whenever they fall back on cliches, such as in the witless "There's Lightning in These Thunder Thighs", they become tiresome, and their interpretations of original blues songs are respectful but dull. Saffire is best when they're not trying to be nice.