Sharon Lewis - Grown Woman
  • 01 Can't Do It Like We Do
  • 02 Hell Yeah!
  • 03 Chicago Woman
  • 04 They're Lying
  • 05 Don't Try to Judge Me
  • 06 Old Man's Baby
  • 07 Grown **** Woman
  • 08 Walk with Me
  • 09 Freedom
  • 10 Call Home
  • 11 Home Free Blues
  • 12 High Road
  • 13 Why I Sing the Blues
  • 14 Soul Shine
  • 01 Can't Do It Like We Do
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (04:20) [9.94 MB]
  • 02 Hell Yeah!
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:29) [7.96 MB]
  • 03 Chicago Woman
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (04:34) [10.44 MB]
  • 04 They're Lying
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (05:09) [11.77 MB]
  • 05 Don't Try to Judge Me
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:22) [7.71 MB]
  • 06 Old Man's Baby
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (04:55) [11.26 MB]
  • 07 Grown **** Woman
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:17) [7.52 MB]
  • 08 Walk with Me
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:17) [7.52 MB]
  • 09 Freedom
    Genre: (Choose a Genre)
    MP3 (04:11) [9.58 MB]
  • 10 Call Home
    Genre: (Choose a Genre)
    MP3 (02:54) [6.63 MB]
  • 11 Home Free Blues
    Genre: (Choose a Genre)
    MP3 (04:44) [10.83 MB]
  • 12 High Road
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:29) [7.99 MB]
  • 13 Why I Sing the Blues
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (04:42) [10.76 MB]
  • 14 Soul Shine
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (04:55) [11.26 MB]
Biography
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Sharon Lewis & Texas Fire Grown **** Woman Delmark DE 849
with special guests Sugar Blue & Joanna Connor

Sharon Lewis unleashes another extraordinary album; Grown **** Woman! A review of her first Delmark album said “The Real Deal qualifies as one of the best blues albums of the year” – Illinois Entertainer This new album kicks off with “Can’t Do It Like We Do” a tribute to the current Chicago Blues sound and scene. “Hell Yeah!” is a total party jam, there’s plenty of soul like “They’re Lying” and “Call Home”, and “Freedom” is a timely song which points out that “freedom cannot be freedom until freedom means freedom for everyone!” Notes by David Whiteis enclosed.

1. Can't Do It Like We Do 4:17
2. Hell Yeah! 3:25
3. Chicago Woman 4:30
4. They're Lying 5:05
5. Don't Try To Judge Me 3:19
6. Old Man's Baby 4:51
7. Grown **** Woman 3:14
8. Walk With Me 3:13
9. Freedom 4:08
10. Call Home 2:50
11. Home Free Blues 4:40
12. High Road 3:26
13. Why I Sing The Blues 4:40
14. Soul Shine 4:55

Sharon Lewis, vocals
Steve Bramer, guitar
Roosevelt Purifoy, piano, organ
Andre Howard, bass
Tony Dale, drums

Joanna Connor, guitar (3,9)
Sugar Blue, harp (1,12)
Steve Bell, harp (6)
Ari Seder, bass (8,14)
Kenny Anderson, trumpet, horn arrangements (2,4,8,10)
Hank Ford, tenor sax (2,4,8,10)
Jerry DiMuzio, baritone sax (2,4,8,10)

Send for free catalog of jazz & blues:
Delmark Records, 4121 N. Rockwell, Chicago, IL 60618
www.delmark.com
CP 2016 Delmark Records


1. Can't Do It Like We Do 4:17 (Sharon Lewis, Yellow Rose Production, ASCAP)
2. Hell Yeah! 3:25 (Sharon Lewis, Yellow Rose Production, ASCAP)
3. Chicago Woman 4:30 (Sharon Lewis, Yellow Rose Production, ASCAP)
4. They're Lying 5:05 (Sharon Lewis, Yellow Rose Production, ASCAP)
5. Don't Try To Judge Me 3:19 (Stephen G. Bramer, Blind Jubilee Publ., ASCAP)
6. Old Man's Baby 4:51 (Sharon Lewis, Yellow Rose Production, ASCAP)
7. Grown **** Woman 3:14 (Sharon Lewis, Yellow Rose Production, ASCAP)
8. Walk With Me 3:13 (Stephen G. Bramer, Blind Jubilee Publ., ASCAP)
9. Freedom 4:08 (Stephen G. Bramer, Blind Jubilee Publ., ASCAP)
10. Call Home 2:50 (Stephen G. Bramer, Blind Jubilee Publ., ASCAP)
11. Home Free Blues 4:40 (Stephen G. Bramer, Blind Jubilee Publ., ASCAP)
12. High Road 3:26 (Stephen G. Bramer, Blind Jubilee Publ., ASCAP)
13. Why I Sing The Blues 4:40 (King/Clark, Universal Music Careers/Songs of Universal Inc., BMI)
14. Soul Shine 4:55 (Warren Haynes, Buzzard Rock Music/Songs of Universal Inc., BMI)

Produced by Sharon Lewis and Steve Wagner
Album Production and Supervision: Robert G. Koester
Recorded on May 17 & 18, 2016 at Riverside Studio, Chicago by Steve Wagner
Cover Photo: Jindřich Oplt
Design, Dave Forte, ForDzign

Thank you to all the talented musicians on the album, to Bruce James for his contributions during rehearsals. To a wonderfully, prolific songwriter and friend since '93, thank you to Steve Bramer for allowing me to interpret your work my way. Thank you Sugar Blue and Joanna Connor for your incredible musical contributions. Thanks to my Loctician/hair stylist Enrique Dorsey and my nail tech BiBi. Thanks to the Delmark family and finally, to all my exes...you unknowingly gave me fuel for my songs by turning me into a Grown **** Woman so thanks! - Sharon

Other Delmark albums of interest:
Sharon Lewis & Texas Fire, The Real Deal (816) with Billy Branch, Dave Specter
Dave Specter, Live In Chicago (CD 794, DVD 1794) with Sharon Lewis, Jimmy Johnson, Tad Robinson
Karen Carroll, Had My Fun (680) with Johnny B. Moore
Shirley Johnson, Killer Diller (757) with Robert Ward, John Primer
Corey Dennison Band (844)
Mike Wheeler Band, Turn Up!! (845) Self Made Man (824)
Linsey Alexander, Come Back Baby (838) Been There Done That (822)
Robert Ward, New Role Soul (741)
Junior Wells, Hoodoo Man Blues (612) with Buddy Guy
Magic Sam, West Side Soul (615)

Send for free catalog of jazz & blues:
Delmark Records, 773 539 5001, 4121 N. Rockwell,
Chicago, IL 60618
www.delmark.com
CP 2016 Delmark Records


“The Blues is a reflection of today.”
When Sharon Lewis sings the Blues, she invokes roots that extend back for generations, but the spirit she summons and the subject matter she takes on are as immediate as this morning’s headlines. “I really think the Blues is a reflection of what’s going on in this country,” she affirms, “on this day, in 2016, or whenever it is. It is exactly what is going on today.”
Sharon’s longtime admirers won’t be surprised at her professed commitment to relevance. Her last Delmark outing, 2011's The Real Deal, was a jubilant party set, tailor-made for dancing and celebration, but it also included such topical fare as the sardonic socio-political commentary “What’s Really Going On?,” a remake of Wynona Carr’s “Please Mr. Jailer,” and the title song, in which Sharon threw down a gauntlet to purists who’d try to constrain the innovations of African-American Blues artists with arbitrary notions of “authenticity”. This time out, the good-time spirit remains just as strong (check out “Hell Yeah!,” a funk-driven, N’Awlins-tinged party anthem goosed by trumpeter Kenny Anderson’s intricate, quick-step horn arrangements overlaid by Sharon’s juke-joint preacher vocals), but she also reaffirms her determination to combine the timeless celebratory spirit of the Blues with the equally venerable tradition of commenting on the social conditions and challenges faced by people in the community from which the Blues arose – where the music is still nurtured, and where it continues to evolve.
You need go no further than this CD’s title song to understand what this means to Sharon. “I originally had this theme,” she says, “because I had this idea of celebrating Black women, with Blues. I wanted to celebrate Black women, because I think we have such a different feel and take on life, especially with our children and the things that we go through. And that’s what it started out with; that’s why I wanted ‘Grown **** Woman’ to be the anchor.”
And indeed, the song is both a proclamation of womanly strength and a defiant refusal to accept anything less than full, due respect – a kind of bluesier take on the theme Beyonce addressed in “Formation,” her now-famous celebration of sass, class, and empowerment. “Chicago Woman,” meanwhile, brings it all back home – when Sharon boasts of a life-toughened Windy City woman who “won’t be denied,” it’s clear she’s singing about herself and all of her sisters. Meanwhile another Chicago woman, guitarist Joanna Connor, amplifies Sharon’s theme with slide patterns that slither, buzz, and scream with both grace and knife-edged, thrusting power.
True to Sharon’s insistence that the blues are “a reflection of today,” other songs on this disk confront some of the darker dangers and struggles faced by the women whom Sharon is celebrating. “Freedom,” penned by guitarist Steve Bramer with a verisimilitude that sounds as if he were channeling Sharon’s own spirit when he wrote it, finds a Black mother having “the conversation,” as all Black Americans know it, with her young son as he asks her how he can stay safe in a society rent with racism and social inequality.
It’s when discussing this song that Sharon asserts, most adamantly, the ongoing relevance of the blues to modern-day American life, especially Black life. “Things have gotten worse,” she maintains. “It never stopped – especially for Black women. I mean, [to] tell my kids, ‘Don’t let ‘em make a statistic out of you.’ And then, ‘Be careful out there,’ and ‘Watch out for the police; do whatever they say. And you still might get hurt.’ I never thought, after all that marching and chanting and stomping up and down back in the sixties, and here we are, doing the same stuff for the same reasons. That’s the killing part about it; it never stopped.”
Through it all, the Blues remains for Sharon the time-honored vehicle for proclaiming and communicating these truths – both lamenting the sorrows wrought by injustice and celebrating the strength to overcome them. This is one of the reasons she included B.B. King’s anthem “Why I Sing the Blues” in this set along with her own “Can’t Do It Like We Do,” which celebrates the Blues as Black expression – both the music and the style in which it’s performed (“They can’t dance like Mike [Wheeler] and Larry [Williams] / they can’t rear back like Ms. Nellie [Travis]”) – and insists that honoring and acknowledging this cultural legacy is essential to truly understanding the music. “It was born from my ancestors,” she affirms. “It stems from the ancestors. This is what they used to comfort themselves and to tell stories. The blues tells stories about life. This was part of our oral history. The blues is about struggle – about surviving and overcoming.”
This is also, in other words, music that celebrates the human spirit and the human condition in all its flawed beauty; it’s music that confronts life head-on and then dares to sing – and dance – in its face. In that spirit, the country-tinged, gospel-infused ballad “They’re Lying” finds Sharon’s protagonist revealing her most tender and vulnerable side; but even here, as the singer bemoans being raked over the coals by gossip, she doesn’t play the victim, vowing instead to “stand up and put my foot down” rather than wallow in self-pity. It’s a secular updating of the old gospel theme of being “ ‘buked and scorned” but remaining steadfast in faith. “Walk With Me” reveals a similar meld of openness and resolve, as Sharon’s love-seeking protagonist both entreats and challenges – “Walk with me baby, if you’re going my way”– making it clear that she will both demand and give deep satisfaction. The other side of desire, of course, is heartbreak, and on songs like “Home Free Blues” and “High Road,” Sharon summons a voice both life-scarred and resolute as she proclaims the determination to carry on, with head held high and eyes focused firmly on the future, in the face of romantic disappointment and betrayal.
Meanwhile, though, the party is still going on, and it shows no signs of waning. Sharon’s “Old Man’s Baby” is a rollicking take on a vintage Blues theme, its rootsy origins amplified by the echoes of classics like Muddy Waters’s “Got My Mojo Workin’” and Earl Hooker’s countrified “Galloping Horses, A Lazy Mule” cantering through the background; the stripped-down funk of Bramer’s “Don’t Try to Judge Me” creates the perfect landscape for Sharon’s vocals – equal parts good-time abandon and steely-eyed resolve – as she delivers an uncompromising yet jubilant challenge to nay-sayers and haters.
It all serves to show, yet again, how the power of the Blues – as exemplified in Sharon’s churchy reading of Bramer’s “Call Home,” an inspirational anthem that melds worldly and spiritual relief in the great deep-soul tradition, and “Soul Shine,” Warren Haynes’ magisterial ode to grace and spiritual healing – both redeems and transcends. “This is our heritage,” she testifies again, “and we’re privileged to share it. Everyone is welcome to come to the table, partake, and contribute.”
Or, as Sharon’s own telephone message reminds everyone who gets in touch with her: “As always – long live the Blues.”



David Whiteis is the author of Chicago Blues: Portraits and Stories, which includes full biographical portraits of Sharon Lewis and other current and former Chicago blues artists, and Southern Soul-Blues, both published by University of Illinois Press.
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