Barbara Diab was born in Australia of Lebanese parents and raised in Leamington, ON, listening to Detroit radio. She now calls Montreal home where she leads the Smoked Meat Band with her husband, bassist Pierre Lamontagne. They are veterans of the Montreal Blues scene and Ms. Diab performed impressively at the Montreal Blues Society’s Showcase at our Blues summit in February. She has a marvelously expressive and warm blues voice. Both on her first album, 2015’s To Blues with Love and now on Mojo Woman, she has set lists that combine very good originals with some very well-arranged blues classics. A very important part of both albums is JD Slim aka Jean-Denis Bélanger, who handles the lead guitar chores, co-wrote the original songs with Diab and produced the album. He’s a veteran of the Quebec scene, with a long sessionography especially with Nanette Workman. Joining her husband on bass is Bernard “Bingo” Deslauriers on drums and Jean Fernand Girard on keyboards. Special mention among the originals goes to “Mama’s Blues”, a lovely slow blues dedicated to her mother. Master harmonicist Jim Zeller guests most effectively. She excels at double-entendre songs like “I Wanna Cook in Your Kitchen” and “Shovellin’ Man”. A major highlight is the rocking “The Bigger They Come, The Harder They Fall”, aimed at a rather self-centred man. Another one is the jazzy and humourous “(I May Be The) Woman of Your Dreams (But You Ain’t The Man in Mine)”. Among the classics, they do a very pleasing acoustic version of John Hurt’s “Richland Woman Blues” and she turns Ida Cox’s “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues” into her own. Louis Jordan’s “Early in the Morning” and “Santa Claus is Back in Town” get very good workouts. Her version of “Sweet Home Chicago” features a nice children’s chorus and “I Got My Mojo Working” sports a lively performance. I hope there’s room in a future Women’s Blues Revue for Ms. Diab but until then check out www.barbaradiab.com. She’s just back from the Aqpik Jam Music Festival in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik.

September 2019 - Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters
Top Blues - September 2019