Reviewed August 2002
by Tom Marion
Can't Find No Heaven
Burnside Records 0044
photo by: Jeff Bizzell
Alice Stuart arose in the early sixties with the folk boom, and shared the stages with the likes of
Joan Baez, Mississippi John Hurt, Jessie Fuller, Phil Ochs, Rambling Jack Elliot, Jerry Ricks
(before he fled to Europe), and Muddy Waters among many others. Her first album was on
Arhoolie Records in 1964. Like other folkies turning to electric instruments, she found herself
teamed up with Frank Zappa. She then formed a band called Snake.
In the 70s she toured with Albert King, Michael Bloomfield, Bread, and appeared on The Dick
Cavett Show in '72 (which was then hosted by George Carlin).
After a break in the 80s, she returned in the 90's with two more releases. As the 21st Century
gets underway, she's released a CD on the Portland, OR, Burnside Records imprint. As such,
she is joined by NW treasures Duffy Bishop, Paul deLay, Louis Pain, Janice Scroggins and
co-producer Terry Robb.
The first tune, mostly associated with Jimmy Reed, Big Boss Man, has a strong rock beat, with
terrific, well thought-out guitar work by Alice. The second tune, Blues In The Bottle is a self
composed tune with a nice blues shuffle with great harp provided by deLay. Next up is another
classic blues, Drop Down Mama, renamed to fit gender, Drop Down Daddy. This is the first tune
in which we are treated to her great finger picking stylings. This is followed by one of my favorite
tunes, Furry Lewis' Turn Your Money Green. Alice turns in a very impressive version. Wild Bill
Jones is an old traditional song that travels well as folk tune. I Ruined Your Life is another Alice
composition which fits nicely in the blues realm. This is
followed by Skip James' Hard Time Killin' Floor and Rather Be The Devil. Both tunes are given
the Alice treatment with good results. A Mance Lipscomb tune follows, Sugar Babe, again given
the Alice treatment and is one of my favorites on this disc. The Man's So Good is another Alice
composition, and returns to a nice rock groove. The final cut is a song I've long enjoyed by
Robert Cray, composed by Dennis Amy, called Night Patrol. I must say this is also given the
Alice treatment. A song about homeless in the big city doesn't really figure as a big problem in
the Inland Northwest, but does in large cities throughout the country.
All-in-all, a pleasant surprise to me. And quite enjoyable. If you get to see Alice, be sure to
check out her shoes. FZ wouldn't have it any other way.