Kentucky's Songbird is Back

Songbird of the South (Baby Hippo Records)
Mary Ann Fisher

By Larry Alexander

Mary Ann Fisher was born in Henderson, Ky. and was singing professionally by age 15, getting her start in Louisville. Her voice is made for the blues and Ray Charles picked up on that early; she toured with Charles for years.

As you might guess, the cuts on Songbird of the South are all exceptional. "God Bless The Child" is my personal favorite; it's sung with soul and emotion. The Charles cover "I Got a Woman" rocks. "Please Send Me Someone to Love" takes it back to the soul and a version of B.B. King's "Rock Me" makes the juices flow.

Fisher can stylize with the best of them with an incredible set of vocal cords to back it up. She mixed her exceptional talent with some fine musicians on this CD. Mike Murphy on the sax makes the blues happen, shining in particular on the cut "Two Dollars," by Johnny Taylor. Two bonus cuts are from a 1959 recording and are interesting, but actually diminish the effect of the CD.

In addition, the great voice, the incredible songs, the talented musicians and the sometimes questionable stylings are somewhat undercut by a less than exceptional sound studio production. With better production, this CD would be a true winner.