MY Lady Don't Love My Lady

Review by Willard Manus

To balance Ryan's inherent sweetness, I turned to the tart new release by bluesman Bryan Lee, MY LADY DON'T LOVE MY LADY (also on Justin Time Records). Lee, for many years a fixture at the Old Absinthe House in New Orleans, is a singer/guitarist whose take on life is decidedly unromantic and tough-minded.

In the album's titular song, he talks about the two loves in his life--his woman and his guitar. Guess which one he favors over the other.

On Early in the Morning and Heartbreaker he confesses to his love (make that lust) for sexy young girls, only to reverse course on Let Me Up I've Had Enough and kvetch about the way his current heartthrob treats him like dirt.

It's the blues, baby--which means there's no softening of messages, no prettying-up of things. Life is presented honestly and unsentimentally, but always with a dollop of humor and earthiness--a case in point being When I've Been Drinking. First written by Big Bill Broonzy, it's a serious drinker's proud but painful confession.

Born in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, Lee went blind at eight but didn't let his disability prevent himn from becoming a musician. Having progressed from sideman to band leader over the years, he not only sings the blues but writes them as well: three of his original tunes are featured on MY LADY.

Produced by Duke Robillard, the CD's supporting cast includes Robillard (guitar), Kenny Wayne Shepherd (guitar), John Perkins (drums), Doug James (baritone sax) and Buddy Guy (guitar). Guy and Lee have been pals for years, but this is the first time they have recorded together. (